THE HISTORY OF BRENHAM
AND WASHINGTON COUNTY
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By MRS. R. E. PENNINGTON
STANDARD PRINTING & LITHOGRAPHING COMPANY
By MRS. R. E. PENNINGTON
JAN 2( 1916
DEDICATED TO MY HUSBAND
K. ®. I^cnnincton
/ vjtsh to thank E. fV. Winkler of Austin,
and W. D. Notley of Brenham for the
'valuable assistance gi'ven me in the
preparation of this book
Mrs. R. E. Pennington
THE HISTORY OF BRENHAM
AND WASHINGTON COUNTY
SHORT HISTORY OF TEXAS.
Vivid in coloring and wonderful in action are the moving
pictures which History throws upon the screen of Time.
The first films in the long reel unroll with creation's dawn.
The soft pastel shades appearing after "the Spirit moved
upon the waters and said, Let there be light." These are
followed by films depicting the lovely rose pinks and delicate
blues of the golden sky that arched the Garden of Eden,
where Adam and Eve wandered in perfect peace and happi-
ness in the beautiful green valley through which flowed the
sparkling waters of the Euphrates. And then comes war, —
grim visaged war, with its crimson carnage, and dull blues
and browns of sorrow. Beginning with the killing of Abel
by Cain, and ending with the present European struggle
for supremacy, the dramatic action is based upon war. All
through the fascinating reel some nation is warring with
some other nation, for the purpose of changing conditions
for the betterment and advancement of mankind. In the
filmed pictures, since Adam and Eve were driven from
Eden, there is no record of universal peace. But ever
through History's scenario shines the Master's holy white
light, leading each human being to "the peace which pass-
eth all understanding."
Time's motion pictures of Texas, Washington County, and
Brenham, are very likely, of greater interest to Brenhamites
than any other historical photo-play in the world. The long
reel opens with
Texas dates its individual history with the signing of the
Declaration of Independence at old Washington on the
Brazos, March 2, 1836. Prior to that period the changes
through which it passed were marvelous. Indians, French-
men, Spaniards, Mexicans, Texans, Americans, Confederates
and Americans, each in turn have controlled for a time its
Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, conducted the first
Europeans to Texas. He commanded the squadron of four
vessels and oOO men who landed near the entrance to Mata-
gorda Bay February 18, 1685. Later the colonists built on
the Lavaca River a fort which they called Saint Louis. La
Salle went to search for the Mississippi River, and was killed
in 1687 by his own men. The Indians attacked Fort Saint
Louis and killed and scattered the colonists, thus ending
French rule in Texas.
Little was done after this to settle Texas until 1715. Per-
manent occupation by Spain may date from this year. La
Bahia was settled in 1716, Nacogdoches in 1732, and Vic-
toria soon after. Missions were built; and each mission had
a presidio, for church and fortress, cowl and carbine were
ever together for mutual protection. Spain held Texas for
upwards of 150 years.
P^ollowing the revolt of Mexico from the rule of Spain,
the first grant from the Mexican government to found an
American colony in Texas was dated January 17, 1821. It
was given to Moses Austin, a native of Connecticut, and
father of Stephen F. Austin. The father, Moses Austin,
dying suddenly, the son undertook the work of carrying out
his father's plans. Austin's first colonists arrived on the
Brazos River late in December, 1821. On the first of Jan-
uary, 1822, Austin named the creek upon which he and his
party had camped New Year's Creek. The country watered
by the Guadalupe, Colorado and Brazos rivers was explored,
and the town of San Felipe de Austin was laid out on the
Brazos in 1823. In the spring the emigrants realized that
they had found a most beautiful country. There was plenty
of fish and game, and great herds of deer and buffalo grazed
peacefully upon the prairies. The thickly wooded forests,
where wild birds warbled, were equally divided with the
boundless prairies where innumerable wild flowers bloomed
in profusion. Even at this early period the myriads of blue
bonnets that carpeted the broad prairies and faded into the
cerulean distance, excited wonder and admiration ; and
they were known as the colonists' loveliest flowers.
The first settlements were made over an area of ground
from the Lavaca River to the San Jacinto River, and ex-
tending from the old San Antonio road to the Gulf of Mexico.
This scope of country embraced what is now known as
Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Colorado, Fort Bend,
Grimes, Harris, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee. Matagorda, Waller,
Washington, and Wharton counties. The first Mexican civil
government was organized by Don Juan Antonio Sancedo,
Political Chief of the Province of Texas He assumed com-
mand of the colony. May 20, 1824, and his proclamation is
brief and sensible. Sancedo appointed Stephen F. Austin
Political Chief and Judge, until the Ayuntamiento should be
organized. Baron de Bastrop was the first surveyor, and
Horatio Chriesman was employed and made most of the
original surveys in Washington County. The first settlers
in this section did not establish a town, but opened up farms.
Judge John P. Coles, Col. Jared E. Groce, Dr. Colbert
Baker and Andrew Robinson came to the west side of the
Brazos in the winter of 1821-1822. Sam, William and Amos
Gates, James Whitesides, M. Bird, James Lynch, Abner
Kuykendall and Josiah H. Bell arrived in 1822-1823. The
first child born in this settlement was Mariah Coles, the
daughter of Judge and Mrs. John P. Coles, born in the win-
ter of 1822.
The Mexican government passed colonization laws and
held out inducements to the citizens of the United States.
Immigration began to flow in and spread itself over the
provinces of Texas and Coahuila, as by decree May 7, 1824,
they had been provisionally united to form one of the con-
stituent and sovereign states of the Mexican Confederacy.
Forests were felled, wild prairies were broken, and farms
established. In nine years the Americans had explored the
whole southern portion of the provinces and redeemed it
from wild beasts and Indians. Colonists came faster than
provision could be made for their support; and the first
settlers were often reduced to the necessity of subsisting
entirely on wild game, and clothing themselves with skins.
Buckskin was the common dress. Blessed indeed was the
woman who had brought a supply of wearing apparel from
the States, for even calico was hard to obtain and found a
ready sale at seventy-five cents per yard. These pioneers
suffered greatly from Indian depredations.
On April 6, 1836, an arbitrary law was passed prohibiting
further immigration of American settlers into Coahuila and
Texas. Military posts were established and the civil authori-
ties were trampled under foot. The Texans held a general
consultation in 1835 at San Felipe de Austin. Harry Smith
was elected governor, and James W. Robinson lieutenant-
governor of the provisional government, Sam Houston was
made commander in chief of the Texas army. Branch T.
Archer, William A. Wharton and Stephen F. Austin were
appointed to seek aid from the United States. The appeal
to arms in behalf of the constitution of 1824 rallied the
whole people of Texas like one man, to the protection of
their rights and liberties.
At Washington on the Brazos, March 2, 1836, the famous
Declaration of Texas Independence was signed by the fifty-
eight delegates. •
Santa Anna, President of Mexico, and the self-styled
"Napoleon of the West," resolved on driving out the Ameri-
cans in Texas, or crushing their spirit of independence, at
the head of 8000 men, marched into the city of San Antonio.
The Texans, passing the San Antonio river, took refuge in
the Alamo. Here Travis, aided by Bowie, Bonham and
Crockett, and a handful of men, made that memorable stand
whose watchword was "Victory or Death." History's pages
perpetuate the record of many an heroic achievement upon
the field of battle ; and there have been displays of exception-
al and pre-eminent courage which stand out conspicuous in
the annals of valorous deeds. In the pass of Thermopylae,
Leonidas and his brave Spartans set the standard of valor
for many centuries; at Wagram, McDonald's legions made
a wonderful charge that thrills the heart like a bugle call
to arms; "into the jaws of death" at Balaklava rode the six
hundred, — the llower of England's chivalry, and ever since
their sublime courage has inspired the pen of historians
and poets ; Pickett and his devoted followers at Gettysburg
mocked at danger and death, and on that fateful field won
the laurels of a fadeless fame. The leader and men alike
who came alive from that carnival of death carried pass-
ports to immortality. History will not willingly let these
illustrious names die, but though glorious were their deeds,
the grandest example of unselfish heroism and fidelity to
duty even unto death, was when, within the consecrated
walls of the Alamo, on Sunday, March 6, 1836, a little band
of Texans taught mankind the lesson of earth's loftiest
Then came the massacre of Fannin and his men on their
retreat from Goliad on Palm Sunday; at the sunrise hour
these brave patriots, with few exceptions, who had sur-
rendered with honorable terms, with stipulations written in
the English and Spanish languages, were shot in cold blood
by order of the usurper. "Remember the Alamo, Remember
Goliad," the cry for just vengeance went up to Heaven. It
was avenged at San Jacinto. Houston and his gallant army
of about 783 men defeated Santa Anna and his legions num-
bering about 1500 veteran soldiers on April 21, 1836. The
battle began at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and most authori-
ties agree that it lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes.
Sidney Sherman commanded the extreme left; Edward Bur-
leson the center; on the right was placed the artillery under
George Hockley; four companies of infantry were com-
manded by Millard, and the sixty-one cavalrymen were
under Mirabeau B. Lamar. In the history of Texas two
dates, March 2d and April 21st, 1836, will stand forever
like imperishable marble monuments to the giant intellects
of the Americans; at Washington in convention assembled
they announced with their pens that they were free, sov-
ereign and independent, and by force of arms on San
Jacinto's glorious battlefield they ratified this declaration of
Texas Independence. Never since the morning stars sang
together has such a magnificent country been given to crown
the efforts of men.
The presidents of the Republic of Texas were David G.
Burnet, president ad interim, March 16 or 17, 1836, to Octo-
ber 22, 1836 ; Sam Houston, October 22, 1836, to December
10, 1838 ; Mirabeau B. Lamar, December 10, 1838, to Decem-
ber 13, 1841 ; Sam Houston, December 13, 1841, to December
9, 1844; Anson Jones, December 9, 1844, to February
16, 1846, The first and last presidents were both in-
augurated at old Washington on the Brazos. In the spring
of 1845 the United States Congress passed resolutions ad-
mitting Texas into the Union ; and while President Jones
surrendered his authority to J. Pinckney Henderson, who
had been elected governor, and announced at Austin that
"the first act in the great drama is performed. The Republic
of Texas is no more," the Republic really died at Washing-
ton when the last Congress passed the resolutions of an-
The story of Texas under the long line of governors who
succeeded Henderson is of prosperity and happiness, and is
quite familiar to every one.
SOME HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT
The municipality of Washington embraced a large terri-
tory'. The county of Washington, one of the oldest and most
historic in the State, was created March 17, 1836, and organ-
ized December 14, 1837. It has been occupied for nearly
ninety-four years, the first settlers being Austin's colo-
nists, who arrived in 1821-22. The average body of land
on its whole surface is, very likely, better than any other
county in the State. The men who owned its soil originally
were among the first Texans to do valiant work for the
cause of civilization.
In the early history of Texas, the town of Washington
"stood as one of the leading centers of business, politics,
education and social culture." Today this ancient place is
deserted and well nigh forgotten. Changed conditions have
caused the decay and death of a number of other Washington
County towns and settlements, once inhabited by people
who were prosperous and happy. Some of these places
have disappeared completely from the face of the earth,
and so long have they been numbered with the things
that were, that it is difficult to locate them and determine
when and where they existed. This list will probably be of
Jacksonville, which took its name from Terrell Jackson,
a wealthy planter of that settlement, was one of the oldest
towns in Washington County, and was situated about three
or four miles north of Chappell Hill. It is said that well
educated and good people lived there, and that there were
prosperous merchants whose business houses were well
built. Most of the commerce was carried on by steamboats,
which plied up and down the Brazos River. Quite a broad
and straight street was laid out through the main part of
the town and this was called the avenue. Only the very
oldest inhabitants are able to recall the days of Jackson-
ville's departed glory — for there is not a vestige of the old
Turkey Creek was so named by a family of Guytons 'way
back in the '40s, and was one of the four candidates for
the county seat of Washington County in 1844. Every
year somebody plows over the place where this town was,
six miles east of Brenham — and every year somebody gath-
ers cotton and corn where it once flourished, and nobody
remembers much about Turkey Creek.
At Rock Island, once a promising village, just a few
miles south of Graball, was a fine educational institution,
known as the Rock Island Academy, and the youth for many
miles around went there to have their minds trained. In
1837, legislation having been had providing for the selection
of county seats by the vote of the people. Chief Justice John
P. Coles ordered an election to be held to locate the county
seat of Washington. Rock Island was a candidate against
Washington for the honor. At Pecan Grove, the polling
place half way between the rival towns, Washington was
chosen. When the Houston & Texas Central Railroad wanted
to cross the Brazos River at Rock Island and build into
Washington for a bonus of $11,000.00, Washington refused,
and this was the death of Rock Island, and the death of
Washington also. Rock Island was given its name by Amos
Seventy-eight years ago Mustang was a trading point
three miles east of Brenham. Mustang Gray, the celebrated
Texas ranger, lived here and clerked in a store, and the
place was named for him. W. B. Travis, the hero of the
Alamo, lived in Mustang and practiced law in the alcalde's
court in the early '30s. Its end is shrouded in obscurity.
Mount Vernon, the second county seat of Washington
County, was named by Judge John Stamps in honor of
George Washington's home — which is so beautifully situ-
ated on the classic Potomac River — when he laid out the
town in 1841. A log courthouse was built, and at the sug-
gestion of Judge R. E. B. Baylor, was dedicated to justice.
Under a spreading live oak tree about one hundred yards
from the courthouse the learned judges often retired to
deliberate over their verdicts. In 1844, in an election for
the county seat between Turkey Creek, Independence, Mount
Vernon and Brenham, Mount Vernon dropped out of the
contest. After the removal of the county seat to Brenham
the town went rapidly to decay, and its beautiful site, upon
a high knoll, about six miles west of Brenham, is likely
unknown to the folks who cultivate the land above its grave.
Tiger Point received its cognomen from Phil Coe in the
'30s. because he said it was full of men who led fast and
furious lives. It was a town of some importance. But it
went down before the pitiless decree of fate, and the site,
six miles south of Brenham, is just an ordinary Washington
OLD GAY HILL AND OTHER TOWNS.
Old Gay Hill was once a place of note. Rev. James Weston
Miller established, in 1850, there an excellent school for
girls, entitled the Live Oak Female Seminary. For many
years it was an important seat of learning. Old Gay Hill
boasted of fine Baptist, Cumberland and Old School Presby-
terian churches, and Rev. Miller was pastor of the latter.
It was a place of matchless natural beauty, situated upon
an eminence dotted with live oak trees ; its people were
elegant, refined and humane as any who ever lived. All
that is left is the old colonial home of Dr. Miller and a
recently erected Presbyterian church.
Evergreen, or Waco Spring, was noted chiefly as the place
where the Tonkaway and Waco Indians had a battle in
1837. It was a small settlement.
The old town of Union Hill, three miles north of Burton,
had its site selected by a local physician, Dr. Gant, who also
supplied its name. Near this place the Goeher family was
massacred by the Indians in 1838.
Lots were laid off for a town in a settlement known as
Warren, at the mouth of New Year's Creek; but as there
were few buyers, the plan of making a city was soon aban-
doned, and the land reverted to the original owner, w^ho
was named Warren.
R. E. B. Baylor and Rufus C. Burleson used to preach
occasionally at Mount Gilead, where there were a few Bap-
tists. The town of Ayers was named for David Ayers.
Little is known of these two places, save that they once
CITIES AND TOWNS OF TODAY.
Besides Brenham, the prominent towns of Washington
County at the present time are Chappell Hill. Independence,
Burton, Gay Hill, Greenvine, William Penn, and a number
of lesser importance.
Independence was first known as Coles Settlement, hon-
oring John P. Coles, who first settled there in 1824. It
was given its present name by Dr. Asa Hoxie, to commem-
orate the Texas Declaration of Independence. It has been
memorable for the number of distinguished people that
have lived within its precincts, and for the great educa-
tional zeal of its pioneer citizens. The first school was
taught in 1838 by J. D. Giddings. On February 1, 1845,
the charter for Baylor University, named for R. E. B,
Baylor, was granted by the Congress of the Republic of
Texas, and this famous educational institution was located
at Independence. Among the first presidents were Henry
L. Graves, Rufus C. Burleson, George W. Barnes, and Will-
iam Carey Crane. Baylor Female College was founded in
1866. These two schools became very famous ; and it was a
sad day, in 1886, for Washington County, when lack of rail-
road facilities caused their removal to Waco and Belton.
Independence was incorporated August 1, 1859, and T. T.
Clay was elected mayor. The city government was of short
Chappell Hill, named for Robert Chappell, a pioneer,
was known as early as 1849 as a trading point. Among
the first people were Robert Alexander, one of the founders
of the Methodist Episcopal church in Texas; H. S. Thrall,
who wrote a history of Texas; 0. Fisher, B. T. Kavanaugh,
F. C. Wilkes, George W. Carter, William Halsey, C. C.
Gillespie, J. E. Carnes, F. A. Mood, W. G. Conner, John C.
Moore, C. G. Forshey, Pinckney Hill, Williamson S. Oldham,
Gabriel Felder, W. W. Browning, R. T. Swearingen and
Terrell Jackson. It came into prominence with the estab-
lishment of Soule University, which was chartered in 1856,
and the founding of Chappell Female College a few years
later. This University was consolidated with the South-
western University at Georgetown in 1875 ; and the Female
College was discontinued a few years ago. Chappell Hill
was incorporated April 7, 1856, and John D. Wallis was
elected mayor. This form of government, however, was
abandoned within a few years.
When the Houston & Texas Central Railroad was extend-
ed in 1871 to Austin, the settlement in the Burton neigh-
borhood assumed commercial importance, and was named
for John M. Burton.
Washington County has been the home of a greater num-
ber of men of distinction than any other county in Texas.
This incomplete list of their names, without their biogra-
phies, will prove this statement: Sam Houston, Mirabeau
B. Lamar, Anson Jones, Martin Ruter, W. M. Tryon, R. E.
B. Baylor, Robert Alexander, W. Y. Allen, John Hemphill,
A. S. Lipscomb, R. M. Williamson, Jack Hall, Barry Gil-
lespie. James H. Willie. W. P. Rogers, B. E. Tarver, W. Y.
McFarland, William Pinckney Hill, A. M. Lewis, G. W.
Horton, Anthony Butler, John T. Mills, Richardson Scurry,
F. W. Adams, Joe Crosby, James Weston Miller, W. H.
Ewing. J. D. and D. C. Giddings, J. E. and C. B. Shepard,
John Sayles, B. H. Bassett, T. W. Morriss and Seth Shepard.
Dr. Gideon Lineecum, one of the State's first naturalists,
lived at Long Point, where the most of his investigations
Washington County has had only two Congressmen, Col.
D. C. Giddings ; and the present Congressman, Hon, J. P.
Buchanan, who was elected to fill the unexpired term of
Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson, and is now serving
his first regular term.
THE LIFE OF
RICHARD FOX BRENHAM
The Mier Martyr, for Whom the City of Brenham,
Washington County, Texas, Is Named.
Among the most interesting characters in the early his-
tory of Texas is that of Richard Fox Brenham, the Mier
martyr, and brilliant Kentuckian for whom the county seat
of Washington County is named. He arrived at Washing-
ton on the Brazos in the spring of 1836, and for seven years
served the Lone Star Republic as physician, soldier and
surgeon. This pioneer soul, while blazing his pathway
through the wilderness where highways never run, was a
living exponent of high ideals. With great medical skill
he ministered to the sick settlers of Washington County;
with tender hands he cared for the dying travelers across
the great southwestern prairies; and in mercy he allevi-
ated the pains of the suffering and wounded soldiers who
went with the ill-fated Mier expedition. Imprisoned in
Mexico's darkest dungeon, the lofty spirit of the gallant
soldier-surgeon pressed on with the ardor of hope; and he
made brave speeches to his comrades prophetic of freedom.
The crowning act of Dr. Brenham's useful life was at the
hacienda de Salado, when he courted death unselfishly, and
carried his cross to his Calvary and gave his life for his
Richard Fox Brenham was a native of Kentucky, and
was bom in 1810, in Woodford County, near Frankfort.
His mother was Mary M. Fox, and his father was Robert
Brenham. Their ancestry has been traced in unbroken lines
to Governor John West of Virginia, brother of Lord De La
Ware, and to the oldest and best English landed gentry
dating back to the time of William the Conqueror. Richard
received his education at Transylvania College, Lexington,
Kentucky, and was graduated with high honors.
During the '30s many Kentuckians, having heard of the
natural advantages and wonderful resources of the new Re-
public, came to Texas seeking homes, fortunes, and adven-
tures. Dr. Brenham arrived at Washington on the Brazos
just after the battle of San Jacinto. He was a brave and
fearless man; and, if he had been in Texas on April 21,
1836, his name undoubtedly would be enrolled among the
immortals who participated in that memorable conflict. The
records in the General Land Office at Austin show that a
bounty warrant was issued Richard Fox Brenham for 320
acres of land, by the Secretary of War for services in the
army of Texas from June 15 to September 15, 1836, said
land being located in Cooke County, His first place of resi-
dence in Washington County was with Sanford Woodward,
on Woodward's Creek, about three miles east of the City
of Brenham. This was his home up to 1839, when he went
to Austin. He never lived in what is called Brenham, for
the place was not named for him until 1844, about one year
after his death.
All nature combined to make Dr. Brenham a model man ;
and physically, intellectually, and morally his life is worthy
of emulation by the youth of Brenham. He was a strikingly
handsome man, of tall and commanding physique; around
his broad forehead were masses of light brown hair ; and his
classical features were lighted by dark brown eyes in which
gleamed the fires of intelligence. He possessed superior edu-
cation, magnetic personality, a cheerful disposition, a rare
gift of oratory, and being naturally witty always pleased a
crowd. Many incidents illustrating the sterlmg character
of Dr. Brenham were told by the early settlers. When he
lived in Washington County he had many friends among the
men, women, and little children ; and they so loved this
bright and skillful physician, that when the time came to
name the town of Brenham the brave and good man and his
services were not forgotten ; for with one accord the pa-
triotic women of the settlement paid tribute to the dead
soldier-surgeon, and christened the little place, Brenham,
in his honor.
An authentic account of this talented physician is ob-
tained from the Austin City Gazette of October 17, 1839.
He was vice president of the dinner given President Mira-
beau B. Lamar in honor of his arrival at the new seat of
government in Austin. Dr. Brenham responded to the
toast : "The government of Texas ; may it always be ad-
ministered by honest and capable men for the interest of
the whole people, and never be used as an instrument in the
hands of unprincipled and designing politicians for personal
aggrandizements and the advancement of party purposes."
Dr. Brenham practiced medicine in Austin about two
years, and served in his professional capacity some of the
most prominent men and women, among the number being
President Lamar. In 1841 he treated, for a badly shattered
ankle, and injuries to his back, George W. Kendall, who
wrote "The Narrative of an Expedition Across the Great
Southwestern Prairies from Texas to Santa Fe" ; and he
and Mr. Kendal became fast friends, and were comrades in
the Santa Fe Expedition.
Politics interested Dr. Brenham ; and he was a candidate
for member of the House of Representatives for Travis
County in 1840, but was defeated by Dr. G. S. Haynie. An
index to the mental caliber of this pioneer is furnished by a
San Jacinto address which he delivered in Austin, April 21,
1840, and which was printed in the Austin City Gazette May
13th, of that year. (A copy of this speech is appended.)
This speech is one of the most brilliant orations ever de-
livered upon an occasion of this kind, and proves the great
literary ability of the bright and brainy Dr. Brenham.
President Lamar found a kindred spirit in the peculiarly
winning manners, courtly carriage, and remarkably fine
.literary taste of Dr. Brenham; and, he delighted to honor
his friend with appointments on important committees.
Lamar sent him as one of the three commissioners of the
Santa Fe Expedition to open commercial intercourse with
Santa Fe ; the other commissioners being William G. Cooke
and Jose Antonio Navarro. The expedition started from
Brushy Creek near Austin, June 20, 1841 ; and there were
270 soldiers under General Hugh McLeod. Many merchants
and pleasure seekers also went along. Miss Cazneau of
Austin gave the expedition a beautiful flag, and, at the pre-
sentation ceremonies. Dr. Brenham made a most eloquent
speech of acceptance. The disastrous failure of the Santa
Fe Expedition is a matter of history; however, Brenham
suffered all the horrors of a long imprisonment in a Mexican
dungeon, and like a philosopher he faced his fate, and often
cheered his fellow prisoners. Even Santiago's grim prison
walls did not awe his brave spirit; for, on April 21, 1842,
he made an impressive speech to his sad comrades in which
he recounted the glories of San Jacinto's battlefield, where
liberty unfurled the flag with a single star. Release came in
1842, and with comrades of the ill-fated expedition, he re-
turned to Austin by way of San Antonio. The citizens of
Austin gave an entertainment honoring these soldiers who
had been mourned as dead.
Almost immediately, Dr. Brenham joined Alexander
Somervell's Expedition ; and on November 18, 1842, started
to the Rio Grande River. However, having arrived at La-
redo, Somervell issued orders for the soldiers to return to
Gonzales to be disbanded. Brenham with 299 others flatly
refused, and went with Captain William S. Fischer, of
Washington County, to a point opposite the Mexican town
of Mier. Dr. Brenham was surgeon of the flotilla, or "navy"
which descended the Rio Grande to Mier. At Mier the ex-
pedition was defeated by General Pedro Ampudia with an
army of 2000 men. At the hacienda de Salado beyond Sal-
tillo. where their captors had corralled them like sheep,
Brenham with others perfected plans to escape. To gain
freedom it was necessary to charge through a narrow door
to the courtyard where guards were stationed with fixed
bayonets. As the prisoners had absolutely no means of de-
fense, not even a club, it was obvious that the foremost man
would perish. Dr. Brenham volunteered for this fatal post ;
he said that he was unmarried, and being a soldier of for-
tune was practically alone in the world. He led the dash
for liberty, and killed two of the guards, and had severely
wounded the third, when he stumbled and fell directly on the
bayonet of his falling enemy. Thus, February 11, 1843,
with Christ-like nobility, did the self-sacrificing and chival-
rous Dr. Brenham walk in the Divine Master's footsteps,
and give his life that his fellow men might have life and
History presents but few parallels to the life of Dr.
Brenham ; and historians agree that he was talented and
patriotic upon principle for the love of country and the love
of liberty, and that he was brave to a fault. Thomas J.
Green places him among the patriots, along with Milam,
Travis, Grant, Ward, Bowie, Crockett, Fitzgerald and
Fannin. His friend Kendall said when he heard of Bren-
ham's death, "Thus died Brenham ; and in him Texas lost
one of her bravest and most generous spirits."
Captain Claudius Buster, of Washington County, who
went with the Mier Expedition, and was released from the
Mexican dungeon in 1844, upon his return to Brenham re-
lated many interesting stories of the valor of Dr. Brenham.
He said his high calling made him a very valuable man, and
that he ministered to the sick and dying soldiers with all
the tenderness of a woman. He told that Dr. Brenham
led the charge at the hacienda de Salado, and rushed through
a small door, disarming a sentinel as he went. With
the bayonet wrested from his enemy this athlete killed two
of the guards and had mortally wounded the third, when
death stilled his brave heart.
Hon. Guy M. Bryan in a letter to Mrs. Rosa Freeman
Ferrell of Anson, Jones County, Texas, who is a relative
of Dr. Brenham, has this to say: "At Salado Dr. Brenham
led the attack upon his guards with the expectation of
being killed, that his comrades might escape. I remember
how he was spoken of with love and admiration by all
Texans. The town of Brenham, Texas, is named in his
This man was a hero ; and at every turn in his illustrious
life there is some reminder ample enough to stimulate the
loftiest patriotism, and to make his memory loved and ven-
erated v^ith pride by every loyal citizen of Brenham. May
the name, Brenham, be spoken as a household word for cen-
turies to come.
San Jacinto Oration Delivered by Dr. Richard Fox
Brenham, in Austin, April 21, 1840.
Fellow Citizens :
The love of power is a principle inherent in man, and from
the remotest period of antiquity to the present time, no age
has passed without an exhibition of its baneful influence,
to the destruction of the liberty and happiness of some por-
tion of mankind. Had human nature been untainted with
this dangerous passion, the pages of history would be un-
stained by the record of national turpitude and civil com-
motion. But the annals of every nation worthy of the re-
cording testimony of historians, conclusively illustrate the
dangerous tendency of misdirected ambition, and present
abundant examples to teach us that no people have ever
achieved political greatness and national renown without
passing through the fiery ordeal of revolution, and resisting
with the energy of free men the rude assaults and alarming
encroachments of despotic power. The attainment of civil
liberty and establishment of national independence by a
people whose rights have been trampled upon by tyrannical
rulers, and whose persons and property have been sacrificed
without regard to law or justice, has ever been attended by
scenes of danger, tumult and disaster. Iji addition to the
examples of past ages, Texas presents to the world another
instance of emancipation from arbitrary thralldom to
brighten the galaxy of existing nations, and enlighten pos-
terity upon the value of political freedom. She has emerged
from the darkness of despotism in which she was shrouded,
and now basks in the radiance of liberty. She has cast off
the bonds that fettered her people, and assumed the lofty
attitude of an independent republic. No longer are our peo-
ple goaded by the taunts, and afflicted by the harsh domina-
tions of usurping authorities. No longer do we see the
myrmidons of oppression enforcing partial and unjust laws,
and harassing our citizens with official rapacity. No! A
change has come over the scene, the corrupt and mercenary
brigands who sought to fasten upon this country the galling
yoke of a barbarous government have been discomfitted and
driven back to the land from whence they came with shame
and dishonor. Broken, humiliated and dismayed, they fled
in consternation to their own land, but carried with them in
their retreat a lesson of Texas valor and mercy, which
neither time nor circumstances can obliterate.
We are assembled this day to commemorate the closing
act of that national drama which terminated in the erection
of a new and independent state, and gave to us a separate
political existence. We are met here to honor an achieve-
ment that in future ages will rank among the brightest deeds
of chivalry. An event that sealed the triumph of intelligence
and civil freedom over the grovelling prejudices of ignorance
and superstition. An action that elevated our country to a
level with the proudest republics of antiquity — whose citi-
zens made every town a fortress and every plain a battle-
field rather than submit to the dictation of arbitrary power.
The battle of San Jacinto concluded a controversy in which
the great principle of human rights was involved. How-
ever interesting the subject, it cannot be expected that I
should on this occasion indulge in a minute detail of all the
incidents which preceded that brilliant consummation. They
are before the world, and no one in the sound of my voice
can be ignorant of the circumstances of that glorious strug-
gle. I will speak, however, of the condition of Texas pre-
vious to, and at the time of the revolution — of the leading
causes which produced that event and changed the destiny
•of a people, and of the character of those who by their pa-
tient suffering, fortitude, and valor achieved the rights and
privileges which we now enjoy. But a few years since this
rich domain — the fairest portion of the universe — was held
in possession by a degenerate race, incapable of estimating
their inheritance, or developing the resources with which
it was so richly endowed by nature. The Mexican population
who then inhabited the province of Texas were sunk to the
lowest stage of human existence. Without a commerce to
profit by an intercourse with other countries, without agri-
cultural industries to unfold the latent resources of their
own land, unrefined by education and the arts that elevate
and give tone to the character of man, they were scarcely
raised above the condition of the untutored savage who
roams over the western plains unchecked, and uncontrolled
by the laws of God or the spirit of humanity. The country
was exposed on every side to the constant depredations of
the various hordes of Indians which infested its borders.
Only the shadow of a government existed here then ; anarchy
and licentiousness reigned supreme over the land, and tu-
mult and disorder marked the conduct of the people. The
Mexican authorities with the view of improving the con-
dition of the citizens inhabiting this territory, and giving
them protection from hostile barbarians, invited immigra-
tion from abroad. They promised to those who came an
equal participation in the government, and the unrestricted
enjoyment of the same rights and privileges they had pos-
sessed in their native land. But how was that pledge ful-
filled ? The events which rapidly followed the settlement of
the country by the Anglo-Americans have demonstrated to
the world the perfidy of that government which induced them
to leave their homes and embark in the perilous adventure of
colonizing a frontier country. But they came; and they
brought with them the courage, energy and spirit of en-
terprise that has ever distinguished their race. They
brought with them the principles of free government, and
the same ardent love of liberty that impelled their ancestors
to fly from the oppression of British tyranny, and plant
the standard of civil and religious liberty in the wilderness
of America. Pursuing the system of their fathers they
soon redeemed the country from the state of degradation
and barbarism to which it had been reduced by a reckless,
ignorant and disorderly community. They spread the light
of intelligence over the land ; the arts were put in successful
operation ; and the hand of industry was rapidly displaying
the wealth of a soil which nature had so lavishly gifted with
the elements of fertility. The chaotic gloom that pervaded
and almost overwhelmed the country with despair was soon
dispelled; organization was effected and the future beamed
upon the people with the rich promise of prosperity.
But the hopes entertained by those who had risked their
all in reliance on the pledges of a faithless government were
doomed to early disappointment. The guarantee which was
proffered them for the preservation of their political rights,
the promotion of domestic tranquillity and individual in-
terests, was only given to delude a generous, confiding and
unsuspecting people. The elements which then composed
the community of Texas were of a conflicting character and
could not commingle in harmonious action. Ignorance and
depravity must ever yield to the supremacy of intelligence
and virtue. No two distinct races of men, divided as the
poles are asunder, in all the attributes that form human
character, can ever be reconciled to peaceful union. The
laws of nature are fixed and unchangeable, and cannot be
varied from their course by the dictum of any earthly power.
As well you might attempt to pluck one of the shining lights
that glitter in the firmament of heaven from its place as to
endeavor to unite in concord and congeniality the base and
degraded spirit of the degenerate Mexican, with the proud,
free and untrammelled soul of the legitimate white man.
The past history and present condition of the Mexican na-
tion clearly proves their incapacity to appreciate republican
principles, or to exist in quietude under a free government.
Whilst every other people have been g-radually advancing in
the scale of civilization and refinement, they have scarcely
moved a single degree, in the course of time, from the de-
based condition in which they were found by the Spanish
conqueror in the sixteenth century. Could such a people ex-
pect to hold in political bondage a race of men who inhaled
at their birth the atmosphere of liberty? and whose fathers
successfully resisted the oppression of the most powerful
kingdom of Europe, and erected a government that is now
the admiration of the world?
The rapid advancement of the Texans in all that tends
to elevate and dignify the character of a community, to-
gether with the dissemination of the principles inherited
from their ancestors, soon aroused the jealousy and mis-
trust of the Mexican government, which looked with dread
and apprehension on everything calculated to awaken their
abject populace to a sense of their political disfranchise-
ment and moral degradation. The usurping faction then
holding sway over Mexico, determined to maintain their
supremacy at all hazards, resorted to unconstitutional and
arbitrary measures to check the tide of improvement, and
crush the spirit of liberty which was fast elevating Texas
above the rank of the neighboring provinces. No means
that tyranny could adopt in the subversion of the liberties
of a people were neglected by the party in power. Every
principle of constitutional liberty was violated, the rights of
the people disregarded, innovation succeeded innovation,
wrongs accumulated, until the government which was insti-
tuted to promote happiness of all was changed into an in-
strument of tyranny in the hands of a few, and its power
abused for the infliction of calamity on those whom it was
intended to protect.
The peaceful means of petition and remonstrance failed
to produce a change in the conduct of the ruling powers.
Their purpose was fixed and they heeded not the voice of
supplication or the claims of justice. The representative of
Texas, who traveled through toil and danger to the distant
seat of government to obtain a redress of grievances and a
revocation of unjust enactments, was received with con-
tempt and contumely — insulted with public scorn — deprived
of personal liberty, and incarcerated in a dungeon. It will
not be improper here to speak of that man, who by his
enthusiastic zeal and unconquerable energy, raised a coun-
try from a state of vassalage and subjection to an inde-
pendent sovereignty, and fixed his name high in the cata-
logue of the benefactors of mankind. Where will you find a
parallel to the character of Stephen F. Austin? His firm-
ness, constancy and fortitude in pursuing the ends dictated
by the principles of justice, and the public good of his coun-
try, command the gratitude and admiration of all whose
hearts beat responsive to the call of philanthropy, or glow
with the impulse of patriotism. No dazzling halo of glory,
won by brilliant achievements in the field, or splendid exhi-
bitions in the forum, encircles his name. The laurels that
he won were gained by the practice of inflexible integrity
and devotion to the cause of humanity, and can neither be
withered by the voice of detraction nor the vicissitudes of
time. Though his spirit has ascended from the sphere of
human action, the example of his life is the richest legacy
he could bequeath to those who lament his departure, and
his name will be remembered with affection and honored
with praise as long as virtue and patriotism have an abiding
place in the hearts of his countrymen.
The constitution of 1824, which was framed for the
protection of the rights of all the citizens of the Mexican
confederacy, was abolished by the ruling dynasty, and an
attempt was made to destroy every vestige of liberty re-
maining in Texas by the subversion of the civil authorities
and the establishment of military power. Injuries were
multiplied and aggression repeated in such rapid succession
that longer forbearance by the citizens of Texas became
criminal neglect of their own rights and of the duty to
posterity. They rose in the majesty of their strength, con-
centrated their forces for resistance to oppression, and de-
clared themselves free, sovereign and independent. Though
few in numbers and destitute of all the means and appliances
which render an army terrible to an enemy, the people of
Texas sounded the note of preparation to meet the
emergency with which they were threatened, and vindicate
their rights upon the field of battle. It was not long before
the storm which had been lowering over the western horizon
burst forth in all its fury. The enemy came on in the
pride and pomp of power, threatening the extermination of
our citizens, and the destruction of the fabric of government
they had erected. For a time their march was a march of
victory, but the victories they won were sullied by the un-
righteous cause in which they were achieved and dishonored
by the dark deeds of treacherous barbarity. The first con-
flict that ensued upon the invasion of our territory was a
warning to the enemy of the character of those whom they
sought to conquer, and showed to the world that the destiny
of Texas was placed in the hands of men worthy of the
birthright of freedom, and who valued the liberty of their
country as the jewel of their souls. The fall of the Alamo
was the death-knell of as gallant a band of heroes as ever
fell in defense of human rights. Though it flattered our
foes witih the delusive hope of conquest of our country, it
roused the spirit of avenging justice throughout the land,
which was not still until ample retribution was made upon
the altar of liberty.
The bloody scenes which occurred during the march of
the enemy through Western Texas are fresh in the recollec-
tions of all who now hear me. They have stamped the
Mexican name with infamy throughout the civilized world,
and guaranteed to them the execration of mankind as long
as remorseless treachery, cruelty and murder are held in
detestation by the human race. Every principle of civilized
warfare, and every feeling of humanity were repudiated by
the advancing legions of Santa Anna. Their progress was
marked by rapine and massacre, unredeemed by a single
act of conciliating mercy. With vandal fury they came
sweeping on in the might of numbers and pride of victory,
breathing the spirit of slaughter, and avowing the purpose
of extermination to all who were armed in defense of the in-
vaded country. But their victorious career was destined
soon to receive a check, their pride to be humiliated, and
their power to be destroyed. On the plains of San Jacinto
they were encountered by that small but gallant band of
patriots upon whose exertions were then depending the
liberty, — the very existence of the country. Every one
here must be familiar with the circumstances of that battle,
and many are present who participated in the engagement,
and can testify as living witnesses to the glory of the
achievement. In that brief but glorious conflict the power of
the invader was broken never to be resuscitated; their
boasting leader made captive in the hands of those whom
he sought to enslave, and the gaudy banner of tj^ranny
trampled under the feet of free men ; then the star of Texas,
glittering with the effulgence of victory, rose to the point of
culmination, throwing the light of liberty wide over the
land, "broad and general as the casing air."
I have thus, in obedience to custom, briefly sketched
forth the progress of our country to the conclusion of the
time in which the political destiny of Texas was involved,
and the termination of which gave to our government a
We are now living under the beneficent influence of a
written constitution, emanating from ourselves, and enjoy-
ing the protection of laws framed in accordance with the
principles of that sacred charter. And it now becomes
us to consider the dangers which may hereafter threaten our
institutions, and the means by which they may be preserved
and transmitted to our successors unpolluted by the breath
of friction, or the disorganizing spirit of ambition.
It has been customary on occasions like the present for
the speakers to dilate upon the characters and censure or
condemn the actions of those men who have been dis-
tinguished in history as the destroyers of the liberty of their
countries. Caesar, Cromwell, Bonaparte and others, whose
names have been rendered famous by their deeds, which
are familiar to all who are conversant with the past, have
long been presented to the gaze of the world as warnings
against the influence of tyranny. Time after time have
execrations been heaped upon their memories, and their
examples preached forth as lessons of instruction to guard
the people against the encroachments of despotism. But
however much we may condemn the conduct of those men,
it is not to them alone that we should charge the calamities
which their careers inflicted upon mankind.
Every one who is acquainted with human nature is well
aware that the predominant and most dangerous passion
of man is ambition. And I hold and avow the doctrine that
no single individual is to be held responsible alone for the
subversion of the liberties of his country. Unless the great
majority of the national community are poisoned by the cor-
rupting influence of faction, and bow with tameness and
submission to the advancing strides of usurpation, no un-
principled, factious and ambitious citizen can elevate him-
self to the pinnacle of power and triumph over the ruins of
the constitution of his country. The power of government is
derived from the people, and if they are so blind to their
own essential interests as to delegate that power into the
hands of men unworthy of the trust, they must be held
accountable for the disastrous consequences which may
result from its abuse by the agents whom they have clothed
You are the source from whence all oflficial authority
emanates, and for the protection of your property and the
promotion of your interests and happiness, it is your im-
perious duty as citizens of a free republic to understand
the constitution and laws of your country, to appreciate the
rights with which you are vested, and to guard them with
untiring vigilance against every assault that may endanger
their safety. In the formation of our government we have
benefited by the experience of past ages — incorporating
into our system those principles of the ancient republics
that tend to the preservation of human liberty, and at the
same time we have discarded those features of their con-
stitutions which militate against the spirit of republican
No ranks of distinction exist in the political organization
that we have established to disturb the harmony and excite
dissension in the national community. All possess the
same freedom, all enjoy the same privileges, and upon all
rests the same degree of responsibility to sustain the gov-
ernment they have adopted. The time has gone by when
the position of nations was governed by the action of physi-
cal power alone — when the fate of empires was decided
by the strife of battling legions. The influence that now
controls the mass of mankind is mightier than the armed
hosts that in former times shocked the world with their
collisions. Public opinion, enlightened by intelligence, and
based upon the broad principles of equality and rational
liberty, is now the great lever which moves and governs
the destiny of nations,
Texas has now nothing to dread from the force of external
powers ; whilst the integrity of our government is main-
tained unimpaired — our intercourse with foreign nations
conducted in accordance with the established principles of
national law, and our policy dictated by justice and guided
by wisdom — we must ever command the respect of the
world, and reap the rich reward of a reciprocity of inter-
The storms of faction engendered by the destructive
spirit of party are now the only cause to excite apprehen-
sions in the mind of the reflecting patriot. When that dan-
gerous evil that has crumbled into ruins the proudest mon-
uments of human wisdom is subdued by the purification
of public sentiment, and the whole mass of society moves
on in harmonious concord, giving to our government by
their united action stability, dignity and power, then, and
not until then, will Texas be free, prosperous and happy.
Then when in future ages the transactions of our country
are recorded for the instruction of posterity, let the his-
torian tell to the world, in characters of blazing light, and
in the language of truth and justice, that by the intelli-
gence, virtue and patriotism of her people was reared the
prosperity, the greatness and the glory of Texas.
Nearly seventy-two years ago, in the glorious spring-
time, when Texas was a republic, life began for Brenham
in a beautiful post oak grove, where native song birds
sang wonderful melodies to fragrant flowers that bloomed
on the surrounding prairies, and where quail, wild turkeys,
prairie chickens and deer scurried away, frightened at the
approach of the settlers. The grove was a princely gift,
and good women honored a hero when they gave the new
town the name of Brenham. People with inherent love of
liberty, the Christian religion, education and progress came
and built homes and were blessed with health, happiness
and prosperity. The little place advanced along steady and
sure lines, but with all the sunshine there were some shad-
ows, too. During the civil war many husbands, fathers
and sons donned the Confederate gray and marched away;
and some of them never returned to the firesides where
afterwards sat the sad widows, mothers, daughters and
sweethearts. Those who came back had to rehabilitate their
broken fortunes and establish anew their households. Great
calamities came with the awful yellow fever, and with the
big fires arid two storms. The sturdy city overcame its
difficulties ; and with unfaltering courage has forged to the
front until it can point with pride to commercial connec-
tions, railroads, modern stores, industries, estimable women
and business men of unquestioned integrity. It is one of
the most important little cities in the interior of Texas,
and physically, financially, intellectually and religiously it
is really a Beautiful Brenham.
SELECTED COUNTY SEAT.
After the Republic of Texas was established, and a con-
stitution had been adopted, the Mexican plan of govern-
ment was discarded, and counties were organized. The
municipality of Washington was organized in July, 1835 ;
and of this territory the counties of Washington, Mont-
gomery, Brazos, Burleson, Lee, Grimes, Madison, Walker
and San Jacinto were created. Washington County was
created March 17, 1836, and according to records in the
capitol at Austin was organized December 14, 1837. The
first county seat was Washington on the Brazos. In Sep-
tember, 1841, the county seat was removed to Mount Ver-
Between 1836 and 1844 the population in the southern
and southwestern parts of Washington County increased
so rapidly that a change in the seat of government was
agitated, and the settlement where Brenham now stands
was suggested as being more centrally located. Jesse Farral
and James Hurt aided the cause of the settlement by the
promise of 100 acres of land for a townsite. On Jan-
uary 31st, 1844, Congress, which was then in session at
Washington, responded to the popular appeal and ordered
an election for the selection of a permanent county seat.
This act also specified that a majority of all the votes cast
was necessary to elect. Mount Vernon, Independence,
Turkey Creek and Brenham announced. In the contest
neither town received a majority, and another election was
ordered. Turkey Creek and Mount Vernon dropped out
of the race, leaving the field clear for Brenham and Inde-
pendence. After an extremely exciting race Brenham was
victorious bj^ three votes. Her success she owed to the
ability and masterly management of J. D. Giddings — one
of the brightest and most influential citizens in the whole
country. On horseback he visited every community and
made eloquent speeches in behalf of the place so recently
Congress designated William W. Buster, George W. Gen-
try, Ephriam Roddy, James L. Farquhar, Asa M. Lewis,
William Jackson, James Cooper and Joshua Graham as
town commissioners of the new county seat ; and they were
authorized to survey and sell lots in the locality donated by
the generosity of Farral and Hurt. The deed of Farral
and Hurt of 100 acres of land was executed April 18,
1844. The gift was a part of a tract of land which Farral
and Hurt had acquired by purchase from Mrs. Arabella
Harrington, the boundary lines being as follows: Begin-
ning at the northwest corner of the First Baptist church,
thence with ep-t line of Market street to the northwest
corner of Germania lot, thence west with the street from
Germania to West street, thence with West street north to
a point running a parallel line with south line of 100 acres
to the place of beginning.
AUCTION SALE OF LOTS.
An auction sale of town lots the latter part of April
attracted many people to the new seat of justice. The lots
on the corners of the square brought only $15.00 to $17.00,
and some excellent sites were purchased at $3.00.
FIRST INHABITANTS OF THE SETTLEMENT.
In February, 1844, there was no one living in the original
townsite of 100 acres donated by Farral and Hurt; and
there were few people residing in the settlement. In the
rear of the Anthony hotel, outside of the townsite, was
the rudely constructed house in which Jesse Farral, James
Hurt and their families lived. Joseph Ralston's store was
north of this dwelling. Ralston owned a number of goats,
and as they were continuously around his place of busi-
ness, the inhabitants dubbed the street "Goat Row," and it
was so known until its name was changed to Market, June
13, 1874. Adjoining Ralston's, and on the north also, was
a small log house in which the papers of the county were
kept by District Clerk J. D. Giddings, pending the building
of the court house.
A list of those living in the settlement, including the
farmers who resided within a radius of three or four miles,
in the spring of 1844, as nearly as can be ascertained, is
as follows : Mrs. Arabella Harrington, whose league of land
was granted March 22, 1831, under the colonization laws of
Coahuila and Texas, and upon which the whole of Bren-
ham, and much of the surrounding country, is situated,
lived in the -most beautiful part of her possessions, i. e., on
the branch which runs past the home in South Brenham
of Mrs. Ida Dawson, and just a little removed from Mrs.
Dawson's present home. Dennis Harrell lived in the west
on the left hand side of the present H. & T. C. railroad
bridge. Henry Higgins was at Fireman's Park, with James
McRea just across the branch from him. Billie and John
Tom owned the land where Mrs. Anna Hermann's home
is situated. John Brown lived where Dr. S. Bowers resides.
Billie Norris' home was in the east on the branch which
runs past Mrs. Ida Dawson's residence. H. C. Mclntyre
settled on his farm in 1839. Dr. Payne, when he was not
practicing medicine or farming, operated a grist mill on the
branch which runs through Burney Parker's present farm.
L. P. Rucker and B. E. Tarver had farms to the north of
Brenham. Joseph Ralston's farm was on Ralston's Creek.
Jesse Johnson, or "Tub" Johnson, had a grist mill on Wood-
ward's Creek. Rev. John W. Kenney lived at Kenney.
Elliott Allcorn, Billie Cole, James Clemmons, 0. H. P. Gar-
rett, Sam Lusk and Sandford Woodward were farmers also.
THE FIRST BUILDING.
The first building to be erected in the original townsite
was the court house. It was a small two-story wooden
btru tu^e, situated en the lot where stands the present court
house J-~e Tom, Joe Miller and Hugh Sherrold were the
architects. The first county judge of Washington County
\vho presided in Brenham was William H. Ewing. The
first district court was held by Judge R. E. B. Baylor, with
"Ramrod" Johnson as district attorney, and J. D. Gid-
dings district clerk. The first sheriff was James W. Mc-
Dade. Among the first county clerks were John Gray and
Sam Lusk ; and the early sheriffs were James W. McDade.
James L. Dallas and Van Irons. The prominent lawyers
were R. E. B. Baylor, J. D. Giddings, Asa M. Lewis, J. &
A. H. Willie, W. H. Higgins, John Sayles, W. Y. McFarland,
Joe Crosby, G. W. Horton, W. H. Ewing, Barrey Gillespie,
B. E. Tarver, J. E. & C. B. Shepard, W. P. Rogers.
Asa M. Lewis, in the spring of 1844, built a hand-
some home, for those times, on the vacant lot opposite
the residence of Mrs. Julia R. Simon. This was the second
building to be erected in the town, and it was a matter of
great pride that it was cemented inside and out, and was
equipped with glass windows — the only ones in the whole
At the close of the '40s and the beginning of the '50s
Brenham had a roster of citizens which included J. D. Gid-
dings, Sam Lusk, John B. Wilkins, D. D. Grumpier, George
B. Cooke, C. F. Barber, James McRea, William Pressley,
W. H. Ewing, David Estes, Jones Rivers, J. C. Mundine.
William and Joe McCutcheon, G. W. Buchanan, W. W. Hack-
worth, L. Dupuy, James Stockton, James G. Heffington,
Hugh Sherrold, Joe Miller, Joe and John Tom, Billie Nor-
ris, John Day, Vardeman Lee, Dr. Blake, Dr. Ware, Dr.
J. P. Key, Captain Early and their families; Mrs. Jame-
son, Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Ewing and her son, Wash Ewing,
Mrs. Paritz and daughters. Among the young and unmar-
ried men were Robert D. Harris, Johnson Hensley, Alex
Simon, James A. Wilkins, W. G. Wilkins, W. H. Higgins,
Rafe Fuller, John Brophy, Charles G. Stockbridge. Dr. A. H.
Rippetoe, D. C. Giddings, Thomas W. Morriss, J. E. Gray,
J. C. Cade, John Petty, the Bassetts, J. N. Houston, George
Wilson, Edmondson, Mcllhenney, Murdock, J. S. Young and
Dr. Noel. Dr. Blake was a homeopathic, and Drs. Rippetoe,
Noel and Key were allopathic physicians. The prominent
young ladies were Misses Malinda, Bersheba and Myra Lusk,
Sallie and Harriet Mclntyre, Mary Portis. Mary Pressley,
Sallie and Mary Cooke.
The early stores were conducted by Joe Ralston, Brown
& Wilkins, Harmon & Levison, French & Nunn, who han-
dled general merchandise ; G. B. Cooke and Elliott Allcorn,
who sold dry goods, and J. G. Knapp and Rafe Fuller,
who were proprietors of a tinshop and a saddle shop, re-
The first meat market was run by John Hensley and
Jonathan Hensley, two brothers. As these butchers had
no scales, they weighed the meat with more or less accu-
racy, by holding it up and shaking it in their hands. They
were pioneers in doing business on a strictly cash basis.
Occasionally when some improvident customer inveigled
them into granting credit, they invariably posted that cus-
tomer's name with charcoal on the market house door, so
that everybody in town might see the amount of his in-
The first census of Washington County was taken in 1850
by James A. Wilkins, under the direction of E. D. Little,
and there was a population of 5,983, as follows: Whites,
male 1,736, female 1,430; total whites 3,166; negroes who
were slaves, male 1,416, female 1,401, totaling 2,817 slaves.
Brenham city was not separately returned until the census
of 1860, when the population consisted of 600 whites and
In 1855 the court house was found inadequate to meet
the requirements of the officials, and a new one was built
of brick, the brick being manufactured in Brenham; John
Stamps was the contractor, and when the building was
completed it was the most imposing in the whole county.
The present court house was built in 1884, at a cost of
$65,000.00. C. R. Breedlove was county judge.
New citizens arrived every year, new houses were con-
structed, and the small town became a business center.
After the removal of the capital and decline of river navi-
gation, a great many people moved from Washington to
Brenham. Social conditions improved, for sensible men
and women can always adapt themselves to circumstances.
Although many of these pioneers missed the luxuries of
the States which they had so recently left, they were as
happy and cheerful as when they possessed all the com-
forts and conveniences of life. The old Texan hospitality
was proverbial. In the communities there was nothing
that they would not share with each other. The stranger
was invariably met at the gate with a cordial welcome, and
he was gladly entertained, without money and without price,
as long as he chose to stay.
The great trouble and expense incident to hauling mer-
chandise, supplies, etc., by wagons from Washington and
Houston, brought Brenhamites to the early realization of
the necessity of establishing railroad communication with
outside points. The first advocate and the most earnest
advocate of a railroad, was J. D. Giddings, and with the
patriotism that characterized his every movement where
Brenham was concerned, he endeavored to build it. With
the aid of his brother, D. C. Giddings, he organized the
Washington County Railroad Company, which received its
charter February 2, 1856; and he was the first president
of the organization, with A. G. Compton as secretary. The
contract was awarded King, Sledge & Company. J. D. Gid-
dings made several trips to New York and Pennsylvania,
where he personally purchased the rolling stock and all
the supplies. Among the purchases was a big engine,
named the "J. D. Giddings," which was considered the
finest in Texas. Jacob Fetterly was the first engineer, and
after a short service he was succeeded by W. F. Ray. In
May, 1858, IIV2 miles of the railroad were completed, and
beginning with October 1, 1860, trains were operated from
Hempstead to Brenham, a distance of 21 miles. In 1871
the Houston & Texas Central bought this short line, which
they extended to Austin ; the first train arriving in the cap-
ital city on Christmas day. The machine shops and ter-
minals were removed from Brenham at that time.
Brenham's second railroad, the Gulf, Colorado & Santa
Fe, was built in 1879.
Patriotism asserted itself in 1861, and many veterans
who had helped Texas wrest her freedom from despotic
Mexico shouldered their old muskets and marched side by
side with beardless youths, at the Southland's call to arms.
It was a sad crisis in the life of the little town. An old
newspaper of this period states that Washington County
had, in June, 1861, an army of 1,000 men, all tolerably
well armed ; and that a camp of 600 men drilled daily during
that month near Brenham. The La Bahia Rifles of 100
men, with Captain Lauderdale commanding, were from Gay
Hill, and they carried a silken banner made by the young
ladies of that vicinity, which was presented by Miss Lucie
Atkinson at a camp drill held at old Mount Vernon in
July, 1861. Some of the companies that went from Bren-
ham and Washington County, in which Brenham citizens
were enlisted, included: For Green's Brigade, 5th Texas
Cavalry, Company E, of Brenham, with Hugh McPhail cap-
tain, and Company F, with George W. Campbell, of Long
Point, captain ; in 5th Texas Infantry, Hood's Brigade,
were the "Dixie Blues," John D. Rogers of Washington,
captain ; Company I, of 5th Texas Infantry, J. B. Robert-
son, of Independence, captain. T. N. Waul's Legion company
was organized on New Year's Creek, about six miles from
Brenham. Col. D. C. Giddings went with the 21st Texas
Cavalry to Arkansas. Captain Claudius Buster of Chappell
Hill took a company to Galveston, where it joined Elmore's
Regiment. Marold was captain of Company E, 16th Texas
Infantry. Quite a number of Brenhamites joined Terry's
Texas Rangers. The soldiers of Washington County were
brave to a fault, and just as true as steel, and the war
record of each one is above reproach.
Reconstruction came with the end of the awful war. In
July, 1865, Brenham was made a military post, and the
Federal soldiers were camped at Camptown ; from which
circumstance this colored addition to Brenham derives its
name. Commanders were changed many times. Post and
Sanders were respectable; but "House Burning Smith," as
he was called, gave much trouble. The soldiers and the
young men of the town became involved in a controversy
at a ball on the evening of September 7, 1866. The sol-
diers intruded into the ball room, and tried to bring some
negro women with them. This the fiery Southerners re-
sented, with the result that a man named Wyatt wounded
two Federal soldiers and killed a third. John A. Shep-
ard and H. K. Harrison counseled peace without avail.
Late that night the soldiers, in revenge, burned the block
of buildings in which was situated the hall where the
dance occurred. The Brenham Banner's plant, owned by
Daniel McGary and John G. Rankin, was also destroyed,
but in settlement of another score. McGary, the editor,
was made a prisoner because he had exposed the "Freed-
men's Bureau," in charge of S. A. Craig, and denounced
the Federal soldiers in the columns of the paper. From
his cell in the jail, where he suffered imprisonment for 14
days, the intrepid newspaper man continued to write fiery
editorials, with the result that many wrongs were redressed.
This combination of affairs led to the formation of the
Ku Klux Klan, of which a lawyer named Adams was the
captain, and the organization of the Hook and Ladder
Company — ostensibly a volunteer fire company, but in real-
ity a military company, whose duty was to protect the lives
and property of the citizens from the Federal soldiers.
Military rule lasted until the latter part of 1869, when the
Federal soldiers were removed.
During his services as Representative, Col. D. C. Gid-
dings introduced a bill in Congress asking that the Bren-
ham citizens, who suffered property losses by this disas-
trous fire, and by another fire, in 1867, in which the Federal
soldiers again burned a section of Brenham, be reimbursed
for their losses. He filed the original list of claimants ; noth-
ing, however, was accomplished. Efforts were made by
later Congressmen to secure the passage of this bill, but
without avail. On December 14, 1915, Representative A.
W. Gregg again placed the Brenham war claims before Con-
gress. These claims growing out of the wanton destruction
by fire (originated by the Federal soldiers) of sections of
the town of Brenham, now amount to $131,026.00.
It became necessary at this period to establish a bank
to handle the commercial interests of the people; and in
1886 the bank of Giddings & Giddings opened its doors
for business. J. D. and D. C. Giddings constituted the firm.
THE YELLOW FEVER EPIDEMIC.
Next to the civil war, the saddest and greatest trouble
ever visited upon the city was the yellow fever scourge
of 1867. The town was almost devastated, and many vic-
tims were interred in the old Masonic Cemeter>\ The
death list of the Federal soldiers was very great. Among
the brave citizens who did valiant service in this time of
great distress was Col. D. C. Giddings. He nursed the
sick and dying, shrouded the dead, comforted the living,
and always his purse was open to the poor and needy. The
noble physicians who labored night and day were John P.
Key, A, H. Rippetoe, A. G. Gilder, Stockbridge. John L.
Watkins, J. T. Norris and Ashbel Smith. Death claimed
Dr. Key and Dr. Watkins. It took Brenham many years
to recover from this blow.
Another affliction came with the big fire of 1873, in which
all the buildings lying between Baylor and St. Charles
streets, from the H. & T. C. railroad on the south to Schir-
macher's drug store on the north, were totally destroyed.
All of these buildings were constructed of wood.
The Germania Verein was organized December 4, 1870,
by C. Witteborg, C. Scheutze, F. Gehrmann, R. Hoffmann,
H. Levy, A. G. Koenig, L. Zeiss, J. C. Neumann, Theodore
Giesecke and H. Scheuchs. The charter was granted in
October, 1871. It is one of the oldest purely social organ-
izations in Texas ; and for forty-five years it has made life
pleasant for its various members and for many other people.
The capacious grounds were acquired in 1870, and each
year something has been done to improve the place, until
"Germania Park" is known as one of Brenham's beauty
spots. It is a great social center.
In 1866 B. H. and Jefferson Bassett organized the Bank
of Bassett and Bassett, which was discontinued in 1884.
The F. A. Engelke Bank, organized in the '70s, became
the First National Bank in 1883, with F. A. Engelke pres-
ident and J. N. Brown cashier. The "Heber Stone Bank,"
which had been founded in 1889, was consolidated with
the First National in 1890, and Heber Stone, who owned
the controlling interest, was made president. H. F. Hohlt
is at the head of this banking house now, and C. L. Wilkins
On August 15, 1905, the Washington County State Bank
opened for business, with H. K. Harrison as president and
J. S. Giddings cashier. The officers at present are F. H.
Bosse, president, and James S. Harrison, cashier. These
two banks, with the Giddings & Giddings Bank, constitute
the city's financial institutions.
SOME PIONEER MERCHANTS.
A list of the merchants who were in business in Brenham
during and immediately after the war, reconstruction days
and yellow fever epidemic, included Wilkins Brothers,
Thomas H. Dwyer, Robert Crow and Atreus McCrary,
Wood and Green, Harmon and Levinson, William Zeiss, M.
A. Healy, Alex Simon, Henry E. Lockett, William Axer and
Peter Diller, John Lusk, Carrington and Brophy, John Nor-
ton, Boiling Eldridge, R. Hoffmann, Watkins and Wright,
S. S. Hosea, Henry Wood, "Bud" Chadwick and Miesner.
The bank of Giddings & Giddings was established in
1866. The only hotel in the town at this period was the
"Mclntyre Hotel," a two-story frame structure situated on
the lot where the Anthony Hotel now stands. In 1873, H.
C. Mclntyre built what is now the Anthony Hotel, at a cost
of $40,000.00, and it rented for the first year at $400.00 per
month. There were very few brick store houses.
Of these merchants there are four only living, i. e., James
A. Wilkins, William Zeiss, M. A. Healy and Boiling Eld-
ridge ; two, James A. Wilkins and William Zeiss, have re-
tired, and two, M. A. Healy and Rolling Eldridge, are still
JAMES A. WILKINS.
James A. Wilkins' work in the mercantile business be-
gan in January, 1844, when he was nearly thirteen years
of age, in the store of his father, John K. Wilkins — then the
second store in the settlement which became Brenham —
and when he was not attending school at the Hickory Grove
School, he was clerking. As soon as he attained his ma-
jority he went into business for himself, and at the com-
mencement of the war between the States he had the big-
gest general merchandise store in Brenham. His love of
country caused him to enter the army, and he enlisted in
Captain I. M. Onins' Company, Colonel George Giddings'
Battalion, serving four years as quartermaster. At the
close of hostilities he returned to Brenham, and, associated
with his brothers, John and W. G. Wilkins, again em-
barked in the mercantile business. During the close of the
'70s Mr. Wilkins retired, and in 1883 was elected mayor of
the city of Brenham, serving for twenty-two years in that
capacity. In 1905, on account of advancing age, he de-
clined to become a candidate for re-election. He is an Odd
Fellow, and holds a fifty-year medal in that organization ;
has been a Mason since he was twenty-one, and is a charter
member of Brenham Royal Arch Chapter.
James A. Wilkins is well preserved for a man of eighty-
four ; and, even though he is old, he still has the clear head,
the strong arm, and true heart that helped him conquer
adversity and win for himself honors among his fellowmen.
Few merchants in the early days of Texas achieved a
greater degree of success than did Thomas Dwyer. This
pioneer was a member of a prominent Irish family. Upon
the death of his parents he decided to leave his beloved Ire-
land. Though scarcely sixteen years of age, the indomit-
able will power and self-reliance that characterized his
whole life was fully developed, and unafraid he went forth
to find a home and a fortune in America. He landed at
Boston, and later found work in a logging camp in Maine.
The extreme cold necessitated a change of climate, and he
same South to Texas, and opened a small store in Brazoria
in 1849. Trade increased, prosperity came, and another
store was established at Quintana, and still another in
Columbia. This work required many trips to remote points,
over rarely traveled roads, in the delivery of goods, and
sometimes the pay was cash, sometimes in cotton or corn,
and one time a drove of Spanish ponies was taken in ex-
change for a big bill of jewelry, which the purchaser traded
to the Indians. Mr. Dwyer cleared $3,000.00 on his horses
in this single deal.
In 1858 he disposed of his holdings in the lower country
and came immediately to Brenham, and opened a general
merchandise store. He invested heavily in real estate, and
in 1874 built the big brick building on Main street, which
he occupied for many years.
Mr. Dwyer was twice married ; his first wife was Theresa
Healy, to whom he was married in Brazoria in 1855, and
the children by this union were Mrs. Mary Dwyer Ross,
William E., Charles G., Thomas H., Mrs. Emma Kiber and
Mrs. Felix H. Robertson. Mrs. Dwyer died in 1872; and
in 1874 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Sarah Diller.
He was very influential in the Republican councils of the
State, and his views on political questions were often fol-
lowed. At one time he was complimented by the party
with the nomination as candidate for the high office of Gov-
ernor of Texas. The Democratic majority, however, that
has prevailed in Texas for many decades made his election
Thomas Dwyer died January 19, 1876. He was a very
prominent and influential citizen, and his death was deeply
deplored. His fine business ability had enabled him to
amass a fortune, which was equally divided among his six
children. Mrs. Mary Dwyer Ross is the only representative
of this family living in Brenham. She has inherited the ex-
cellent business qualifications of her father, and has more
than doubled her share of the estate. She manages her
property personally, and is one of the wealthiest, and most
capable and efficient women in the city.
This estimable man has been in the merchandise busi-
ness in Brenham since May,_1867. He came with his par-
ents, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Eidridge, to Washington County
in 1849 from Virginia, where he was born in Halifax Coun-
ty. He was educated at Independence, and there received
his first experience in commercialism. At the Southland's
call to arms he, like the rest of the patriots, abandoned his
business and fought for four years in the Confederate
His enlistment was with the Fifth Texas Infantry, Com-
pany E, which was a part of Hood's Texas Brigade, and
in all of its awful battles he was a gallant and courageous
soldier. Among the engagements in which he participated
were West Point, Seven Pines, Gaines' Mill, Second Manas-
sas. Gettysburg, Chickamauga. Knoxville, the Wilderness,
Spottsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Fort Harrison,
Darbytown and many others of lesser note — twenty-eight
in all. At Chickamauga he was wounded, and at the Wil-
derness was shot in the left shoulder. Captain Eldridge
surrendered his company at Appomattox Courthouse.
Two years after the expiration of hostilities Boiling Eld-
ridge located in Brenham. and for nearly half of a cen-
tury has conducted a mercantile business, most of the time
in the big brick store house which he now occupies. He
has seen Brenham grow from a small place of 700 or 800
people to a city of over 5,000 inhabitants, and he has as-
sisted in its growth, giving freely at all times of his time,
talents, and money in its development. As a business man
he is honest to the core ; and, as a loyal citizen he is ever on
the side of right, following always the laws of God and his
country. This typical Southern gentleman, and genial ex-
Confederate soldier has a host of true friends.
M. A. HEALY.
M. A. Healy, the veteran hardware man, was born in Ire-
land, and came to America in his youth. For some years
he had employment in Brazoria, coming in 1866 to Bren-
ham. He immediately opened a store, and for 49 consec-
utive years he has been one of the most prominent mer-
His w^ar record measures up to the standard of an intre-
pid Confederate soldier — honorable to a fault, and abso-
lutely fearless. His enlistment was with George Giddings'
Regiment, in Captain I. M. Onins' Company, with services
extending throughout the four years' strife ; and, even after
the war was ended, for Giddings' Regiment fought the last
battle May 13, 1865, down on the Rio Grande River, sev-
eral weeks after Lee's surrender at Appomattox ; and he
was a brave soldier in this final engagement.
Mr. Healy married Louise Fordtran, daughter of Charles
Fordtran, one of the first German settlers in Texas. Dur-
ing their long residence in Brenham, he and his wife have
helped to work out many problems whose solution meant
the advancement of Brenham morally, intellectually and
This staunch German was born in Hesse Cassell. Sep-
tember 19, 1833, and came to Houston when nineteen years
of age, arriving after three years in Brenham. He opened
a grocery store and bakery, and for fifty years was in bus-
iness continuously, retiring in 1903.
William Zeiss is strong and vigorous; time has dealt
gently with him, and even if he has reached the extrem-e
age of 82, the period of life when man's health and activi-
ties are supposed to be on the wane, he still preserves his
interest in life, and his faculties are unimpaired. Close at-
tention to business has brought the reward of wealth, and
he has, too, that which is above great riches, the high re-
gard of the citizens of Brenham.
William H. Ewing owned, edited and published the first
Brenham newspaper. It appeared in 1845, and was called
the "Lone Star." The Texas Christian Advocate was first
published in this city in 1846, and R. B. Wells was the
D. H. Rankin established the Brenham Enquirer March 3,
1853. Publication was suspended in 1863, owing to the war
and inability to secure paper, the last few issues being print-
ed on wall paper. In January, 1866, Daniel McGary and Jno.
G. Rankin founded the Southern Watch Tower, which was
soon after named the Brenham Banner. A Daily Brenham
Banner was established January 1, 1875, and discontinued
January 1, 1904. In 1912, J. G. Rankin sold the weekly paper
to the Brenham Banner Publishing Company, of which H. F.
Hohlt is the president. On October 1, 1913, the company
acquired the Brenham Daily Press, and the two papers
were consolidated. The publication is now styled the Bren-
ham Banner-Press, with George Neu in charge.
J. L. Watson, who made a fortune in the Mergenthaler
Linotype machines, and whose heirs own a controlling in-
terest in the Houston Post, established the Independent
during the '80s. This paper was afterwards owned by W.
P. Ewing, J. C. Day and T. R. Rivers.
George Tucker bought the Independent in 1895 and
changed its name to the Brenham Daily Press. He was
editor and proprietor until he disposed of his holdings.
The Texas Volksbote was founded in 1873 by Henry
Mueller, and for forty years it has been published weekly,
in the German language.
The Public Library was established in 1899 by the Fort-
nightly Club, with a nucleus of about 100 books, contrib-
uted by the members and the citizens. At present there
are over 5,000 volumes on the shelves in the library rooms
in the City Hall. Miss Annette Ray, the librarian, is on
duty every day, and there are many calls for books.
The plan of incorporation became very popular in 1858,
and on May 29th of that year an election was held to deter-
mine the question of incorporating the town of Brenham,
the same being one square mile, the lines running due north
and south, east and west, with the court house for center.
P'ifty-one votes were cast for the incorporation and fifteen
against. Claudius Buster, Chief Justice of Washington
County, opened the returns, and ordered an election Sat-
urday, June 19th, 1858, for a mayor, constable and five
aldermen. A count of the votes disclosed the fact that
W. H. Cammack and H. C. Mclntyre had tied for the office
of mayor, with 15 votes each. Adrian Testard was elected
constable, and the successful aldermen were William Davis,
A. H. Rippetoe, J. P. Pressley, Jeff Bassett and Hugh Mc-
Phail. The next city officials were elected August '2nd,
1858, and were W. H. Cammack mayor, James F. Estes
constable, and William F. Jarrell, John P. Key, G. M. Buck-
hanan, James L. Dallas and Sam Lusk aldermen. On the
21st day of August, 1859, Sam Lusk received 80 votes and
was elected mayor, R. E. Hardin constable, A. G. Gilder,
H. Levinson, J. A. Wilkins, O. P. Carrington and E. F.
Ewing constituted the board of aldermen. E. D. Tarver,
chief justice, approved this election
During the war between tne States the city government
was abandoned, and was not resumed until 186G, when
H. C. Mclntyre became the mayor. He served from that
year until 1869, when Peter Diller, the military appointee,
qualified in accordance with an order issued by General
J. J. Reynolds. Diller resigned in 1870, and Captain James
S. Biddle assumed control. Upon the resignation of Biddle,
May 21, 1870, S. S. Hosea served as mayor until December
20 of that year, when he, too, resigned. His successor
was N. W. Bush, who resigned March 4, 1871. F. A. Wil-
mans. appointed by E. J. Davis, served from 1871 to 1873.
Russell Shipley served from 1873 until his death, June 17,
1876. M. P. Kerr served from July 1, 1876. until October
19 of that year, when he resigned. J. McFarland served
a short while; J. T. J. O'Riordan took charge October 31,
1876, and his tenure of office lasted until April 5, 1878,
his successor being M. P. Kerr. Kerr's administration
continued until April, 1883, when James A. Wilkins was
For twenty-two years James A. Wilkins guided the des-
tiny of Brenham. When he was first called to serve as
mayor city scrip was worth only forty cents on the dollar;
it soon advanced to par, where it has ever since remained.
The system of water works was purchased November 19,
1894, for a consideration of $40,000.00 cash, and bonds
■:«■: -,:■:,>:■: ;■:>:■: : ,.:«»^.;v: :i.:o».:<^>;^.-<«^.:^;^v.. .■^.,^. >^^,y.
were issued for this purpose. To replace the old city hall,
which was burned, a new one was erected, during the close
of Mr, Wilkins' administration.
In April, 1905, William Lusk was elected mayor, and for
eight years the city made great progress. Among the im-
portent improvements may be cited the building of many
miles of concrete sidewalks, the removal of all wooden
bridges, which were replaced with concrete arches; the
establishment of a sewerage system, and the purchase of
better equipment for the fire department, including the
lire automobile engine. The water works bonds were bear-
ing 6 per cent interest, and Mayor William Lusk arranged
with the State School Fund to take over these securities
at 4 per cent, thus saving Brenham by this one transaction
$16,500.00. The High School building was erected in 1907,
the Alamo was built in 1913, and the East End colored
school house was remodeled in 1913. The water works
property was improved by the installation of better ma-
chinery, and the building of a new brick house for the
Alex Griffin became mayor in 1913, and served two years.
He continued the good work on the public thoroughfares.
The city authorized the issuance of $30,000.00 worth of
bonds for the purpose of improving the water works and
sewerage system. Plans for these improvements were for-
mulated during Mayor Griffin's term of office.
William Lusk was re-elected mayor in 1915, and he is
the present incumbent. Under his direction the contem-
plated improvements of the water works and sewerage sys-
tems have become accomplished facts. He is devoting his
energies to the advancement of Brenham along all lines.
The City Ordinances were compiled in 1895, by R. E. Pen-
nington, of the law firm of Campbell & Pennington.
BRENHAM VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT.
Serious trouble with the Federal soldiers, stationed at
Camptown, and the burning of a part of Brenham, April
25th, 1867, resulted in the organization of the Brenham
Volunteer P^ire Department, which was in reality a military
organization, whose duties were to protect the lives and
property of the citizens during the reconstruction days.
The Hook and Ladder Company, numbering 22 men, came
into existence May 28, 1867 ; Col. D. C. Giddings was fore-
man, J. R. Thomson and R. D. Harris were assistant fore-
men, W. H. Terrill treasurer, and John A. Shepard secre-
tary. Brenham Protection Fire Company presented its
organization at the same time, with the following officers :
I. M. Onins, president; C. R. Breedlove, vice president;
W. H. Chadwick, secretary; Ed Rundell, foreman, and J.
Ward, J. Tom and J. Smith, assistants. These two com-
panies constituted the original fire department. Public
cisterns were built on the square to conserve the water
supply for use during fires. On March 9, 1868, the mem-
bers of the Brenham Fire Protection failed in their organ-
ization, and the city took charge of their fire engine.
For almost half of a century the Fire Department has
been one of Brenham's most valuable assets. Beginning
as soldiers, and continuing as protectors of life and prop-
erty, the record of active service of its members is a noble
and enduring one. The department has not only discharged
every duty faithfully and well, but it has provided more
pleasure for a greater number of people than any other
organization in the city. The annual Mai Fests are spring
festivals of great moment, and have a statewide import-
ance. These celebrations had their commencement in 1874,
when the German citizens of Washington County, under
the auspices of Harugari Lodge, held the first Volksfest
in Brenham. Volksfests were held in 1875, 1876 and 1877,
and the first queen, Betty Engelke, was crowned in 1877.
Augusta Minkwitz was queen in 1878; Selma Engelke in
1879, and Louise Hofi'mann in 1880. At this time some
financial difficulties caused the Harugari Lodge to turn its
holdings over to the Brenham Fire Department, and the
first real Mai Fest was held at the old Fair Grounds May
13-14, 1881, with Frankie A. Foote as May Queen. A
tabulated list of the succeeding May Queens is as follows:
1882, Annie Spencer; 1883, no record of any Mai Fest being
held; 1884, Emily Harris, who was the first Queen whose
coronation took place at the Fireman's Park; 1885, Ida
Bassett; 1886, Lizzie Lindemann; 1887, Nettie Pampell;
1888, Nannie Clemmons and Eula Gee; 1889, Nettie Estes;
1890, Ethel Muse; 1891, Flowers, represented by Lillian
Lindemann, Ella Werner and Jessie Shepard ; 1892, Lillian
Engelke; 1893, Hettie Harrison; 1894, Hester Abbott; 1895
marks the date of the building of the Summer Theatre, and
the production of the operetta written by W. P. Ewing and
H. H. R. Hertzberg, and set to music by W. A. Jakel. The
leading character was Mrs. L. J. Lockett; 1896, "Toy Shop,"
written by W. P. Ewing, and set to music by W. A. Jakel, was
presented, with Mrs. Louis M. Simon as the most prominent
character; 1897, Julia Epstein; 1898, Bertha Becker; 1899,
Mary Stone; 1900^ Julia Epstein; 1901, Lillian Lindemann;
1902, Alita Gardner; 1903, Susan Shepard; 1904, Elise
Lockett; 1905, Mackadee Barnett; 1906, Julia Salley; 1907,
Therese Dee Ross; 1908, Florence Seward; Bertha Schuer-
enberg, Louise Giddings, Ethel Tucker, Olga Van Hutton,
Annie Marek, Corinne Huettig and Minnie Seelhorst were
queens of the nations; 1909, Minnie Lee Gehrmann; 1910,
Lila Shepard; 1911, Louise Stone; 1912, Florence Simmons;
1913, Susie Lipscomb; 1914, Edna Buck; 1915, Gladys
Fireman's Park was purchased by the department in
1884, and each year succeeding some improvements have
been made. Many notable events have taken place within
Inattention to the importance of educational interests
cannot be charged to Brenhamites ; for even before Bren-
ham became the county seat, "Hickory Grove School" was
known far and wide as an excellent school for boys and girls,
and there were pupils from many surrounding places. The
school house was situated in a hickory grove — from which
it derived its name — about 100 yards south of the J. B.
Wilkin residence in North Brenham. It was built, in 1840,
of cedar logs prepared with a whip-saw and had a puncheon
floor, puncheon benches, but no desks. The first teacher was
James Mitchell, who had an enviable reputation as an edu-
cator. Many years ago he moved to Fort Worth, where
he died. Rev. L, P. Rucker was the second, and General
John Sayles was the third teaqher. After the Masons took
charge of "Hickory Grove School," they changed the name
to the "Masonic Academy," and in 1848 or 1849 they built
a new and larger house of cedar. "Hickory Grove School"
was used as a church during the early histor>^ of Brenham,
and ministers of every denomination preached within its
walls. When free schools were opened in Brenham the at-
tendance at the Masonic Academy declined, and it was closed
in 1875, when Graham Lodge No, 20 presented the property
to the city of Brenham,
Mrs. W, H, Ewing, who afterwards became Mrs, Horton,
taught a private school during the late '40s. Mrs. Fannie
Cooke was also one of the early teachers. When the Con-
stitution of 1869 directed that there should be maintained
free schools throughout Texas, D. D. Grumpier and Mrs.
Asa M. Lewis opened the first free schools, which they suc-
cessfully conducted until the advent of the Brenham Public
BRENHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The 14th Legislature passed a bill, March 25, 1875, which
authorized the amendment of the charters of towns and
cities, SQ as to give the city councils the power to collect a
special school tax for the maintenance of the public schools
within their corporate limits, and giving them exclusive con-
trol thereof. Acting under this new law the council of the
city of Brenham on April 26, 1875, passed resolutions ac-
cepting the benefits of this new law, and levied an annual
ad valorem tax of one-fourth of one per cent on each dollar's
worth of taxable property. School began September 6, 1875,
and lasted 40 weeks. The first superintendent was W. C.
Rote of Pennsylvania, and the teachers were A. C. Jessen,
who taught German ; Mrs. W. A. Lockett, Miss Mary Rial
and Miss Kate Saunders, theif certificates having been is-
sued by Russell Shipley, the mayor. The free school for
negroes was opened on the same date, with J, H. Morriss
in charge. School was conducted in the old Key home, on
the site of the Sacred Heart convent, then owned by E. P.
Davis, and a monthly rental of $50.00 was paid until the
city purchased the land from Davis, October 22, 1877, for
a consideration of $2,500.00. The new two-story brick build-
ing, costing $10,000.00, was constructed during 1878, by
popular subscription, and with the addition of $1,000.00
derived from the sale of the old Masonic Academy lot, do-
nated by Graham Lodge. Rote made his last report to the
council May 20, 1878, giving a total registration of 605
pupils, 340 white and 265 colored. The superintendents
after W. C. Rote were C. P. Estill, J. T. Hand, Jay E. Mc-
Guire, R. Stanbery, W. H. Flynne, E. W Tarrant, Peyton
Irving, Jr. The present incumbent is W. D. Notley.
To accommodate the ever-increasing attendance the pres-
ent handsome, mission style, High School building was
erected in 1907, at an approximate cost of $50,000.00, and
the Alamo building was constructed in 1912, with an expen-
diture of about $11,000.00. These two structures are equip-
ped with all modern conveniences. The attendance for the
opening in September, 1915, was, white pupils, 600.
Brenham has one of the finest systems of public schools
in Texas, and they are really the first to be established in
the State. Superintendents of great ability and teachers
of culture and refinement have labored intelligently and
earnestly for their advancement. Among the men of supe-
rior education who have guided the destiny of these schools,
W. D. Notley must be ranked with the best — in some re-
spects he is the peer of his predecessors — for his methods
are more modern, and he has a beautiful way of reaching
the hearts, and touching the ambition of the boys and girls
and arousing their interest in the school work.
The list of graduates with the dates of graduation is as
follows (Those marked * are deceased) :
1877— Kate Allen, Offa Eddins and Robert Tarver.
1878— Eliza (Baker) Wessendorf of Fort Worth, Mary
(Dashiell) Mclntyre,* Mattie (Dashiell) Bryan of Abi-
lene, Mary Tarver,* Tannie (Hynes) Ammons, Louis F.
Ammons, Thomas Harris,* William Thompson of Dallas and
James A. Wilkins.
1879— Charles Grattan Dvvyer, U. S. A., New York City;
Rosa (Simon) Rubenstein of New Orleans, and Annie
1880— Julia A. Dashiell,* Eula (Williams) Krug, and
Josie (Wood) Ray of Waco,
1881 — Leanora McCluskey,* May (Williams) Pennington.
1882 — Nettie (Pampell) Lochridge of Austin, and Kate
(Robertson) Watson of Stone.
1883 — No graduates reported.
1884 — Emma Harris,* Nettie Testard.
1885 — No graduates reported.
1886 — Lucile Beaumont, Lizzie (Dwyer) Robertson of
Crawford, Hannah (Simon) Folz of Kalamazoo, Michigan;
Eugenia Gray, Lula Curry, Lula (Dunlap) Williams, R. J.
Swearingen,* Allen Swearingen,* Travers Dashiell of Jew-
ett, Charles Spann.*
1887 — Callie (Hutchinson) Scott of San Antonio, Hettie
(Harrison) Curry, Genevieve Muse, Dora Cleaves, Emma
(Beauchamp) Nauwerck,* Fannie (Kennedy) Schenk of
Oklahoma, Mallie (Hutchinson) Minor, Mamie Allison,
Sudie Curry, Mamie Crosson, Ben Bassett, John Watson
of Lockport, New York, and Henry Gleiss.
1888 — Sadie McClung of Los Angeles, California; Lou
Charske, Loula Cross, Olivia Bowers, Nettie (Estes)
Fischer, Cora (Harrison) Levy of Oklahoma City, Ethel
(Morriss) Franklin, Janie (Hughes) Sallis, Hester (Ab-
bot) Smith, Rosa Williams, Fred W. Martin and John Asa
Wilkins of Houston.
1889 — Emma Ahrenbeck, Jessie Cleaves, Kate (Estes)
McAdam, Edna Kennedy of Mineral Wells, Annie Johnson,
Mary Elizabeth Rouse of Houston, Annie (Vinson) Betti-
son, David Allen, Arthur E, Knolle, J. L. Neu and Hugh
1890 — Sophie Ahrenbeck, Sophie Bickler, Katie Caroth-
ers, Ophelia (Hutchinson) Schulz, Johnnie (Hughes) Burns
of Caldwell, Elma Morriss, Virginia Thomas of El Paso,
Fred L. Amsler, Cal G. Botts, W. J. Bassett, K. P. Giesecke
and Edwin J. Healy.
1891— Susie (Battaile) Schemwell, Fannie (Budd) Meyer
of Cleburne, Annie Hill, Daisy Eldridge, Lillian Hoffmann,
Grace Slater. Ellie (Pennington) McNeal, Ada Wallney,*
Hettie (Wilkins) Garrett, Beulah (Burke) Cunningham of
Ardmore, Oklahoma; Highland (Gee) Vardell of Dallas,
Courtney (Williams) Styles of Wharton, E. C. Abbott, H. L.
Garrett of Galveston, R. A. Harrison of Bryan, Heniy Ray
1892 — Julia Harrison of New York City, Margaret (Bas-
sett) Lamkin, Willie Burch, Estelle (Connell) Koye of Dal-
las, Jessie Gather, Zephyr (Crozier) Roos of Victoria, Stella
Curry, Rosa (Haubelt) Lindemann of Housto'n, Sophie
Heine, Nannie (Matchett) Crozier, Lillie (Wiebusch) Trae-
ger,* Stella (Young) Knolle of Seguin, T. A. Low and Wil-
1893 — Katie Griffin,* Ruby (Gardner) Robertson, Nan-
nie (Botts) Dever of Waco, Daisy (Connell) Humphreys
of Lyons, Rosamond Bowers, Tillie Zeiss, Delphine Byrnes
of La Grange, Pauline (Dawson) Baumgart, Carrie Endel,
Bershie (Hickey) Clonts, Lelia Hughes, Daisy (Johnson)
Brauner of Beaumont, W. T. Tarrant, U. S. N.
1894 — Helen (Miller) Bolton, Annie (Hughes) Kean of
Cisco, Nellie Brennan, Bessie (Buster) Young of Jacksboro,
Irene (Crozier) Youngkin of Galveston, Mabel Giddings of
Austin, Fannie Hill, Beatrice (Hutchinson) Mead of Fort
Worth, Beulah Kennedy, Corrie (Low) Morriss, Mary Mun-
day, Hattie (Wilkins) Williams, Low Chappell, Lennie
Campbell, Bruns Holland of Del Rio, Sam Rouse of Houston,
Irving Townsend and Henry L. Williams of Beaumont.
1895 — Bertha (Becker) Wilkins, Annette Ray, Lula
(Thornhill) Harrison, Elsie (Tristram) Engelhardt, Addie
Wiebusch, Bershie (Wilkins) Low, Lena (Pampell) Day,
Clara Wilson of Dallas. Charles H. Carlisle, Jr., Boiling
Eldridge, Ernest Young of Jacksboro, John P. Key of Cali-
fornia, Rupert Eldridge.
1896 — Sadie Harrison of New York, Lucile Tarrant, Fay
Bowers, Melissa (Bowers) Hale, Lula (Felder) Cox,* An-
nie Haubelt, Sadie (Mclntyre) Garrison of Plainview (cer-
tificate), Mary (Healy) Bates of Corsicana, Nelda Russi,
Mamie Stein, Mary Tumlin, Frank H. Dever of Dallas,
Albert L. Haynes and Hal C. Thomas of Arizona.
1897 — Emma (Amsler) Koch, Kate Brennan, Ada H.
(Becker) Carlisle, Mattie Giddings, Mollie White (Harri-
son) Astin of Bryan, Lelia Clay Bobbins,* Edna Earle
(Rouse) Fagg of Greenville, Bessie (Thornhill) Hughes,
Fannie C. Thomas, Hattie (Tiemann) Schiller, Too ley
(Williamson) Lusk, Robert W. Haynie of Abilene, Henry
A. Luhn of Taylor, L. Tarver Wilkins,* Edwin C. Zurcher.
1898 — Belle (Beauchamp) Gackenheimer, Annie Busse,
Lizzie Eldred, Minnie Fowler, Mamie Glass, Lucy Hill,
Mamie (Creekmore) Gather, Nettie (Graber) Meerscheidt
of San Antonio, Ettie (Bowers) Becker of Bellville, Daisy
Burch, Julia (Epstein) Epstein of Atlanta, Georgia; Alita
(Gardner) Vann, Erna Giesecke of Houston, Emma Rob-
ertson, Winifred Morriss, John Kirkland Harrison of Hous-
ton, Ravenal Luhn, Ernest A. Robbins of Houston, J. Lester
Wroe of Austin, Harry Pennington of Houston, Lou (Jack-
son) Booth*, Louis Giddings, August Lindemann, Louis Rial.
J. R. Williamson, Jr., Ralph Mudgett, Henry S. Thornhill
and Mary Sallis.
1899— Mattie (Shepard) Amsler of Dallas, Selma (Tie-
mann) Dippel, Ella Werner, Nellie (Abbott) Wilkins, Hat-
tie Mae Allcorn,* Mamie Haubelt, Willie Creekmore of St.
Louis, Bessie (Eldridge) Gillespie of Houston, Flora Fow-
ler. Bessie (Wilkins) Farley, Jerry J. Marek, Albert Gid-
dings, Elsie (Garrett) Townes of Beaumont, Louise (Good-
lett) Ellis of Temple, Loula (Healy) Fehrentz of Chicago,
Annie Lemm, Lillian (Lindemann) Meyer of Sealy, Mary
Liebrook, Rosa (Langhammer) Sanders of Somerville, Sadie
Miller, Fannie Pace,* Katie Stein, Hugo Tautenhahn and
George S. Wright.
1900 — Annie Marie Affleck,* Addie Louise Clonts. Mary
(Dever) Price of Georgetown, Elizabeth (Dobert) Schmid,
Musadora Irby, Esther Lewis, Annie (Shepard) Winston of
Smithville, Byron Couch Beauchamp, Louise Vlasta Wotip-
ka, Netta Botts, Loula Hackworth, Mattie (Harrison) West
of Uvalde, Annie (Hermann) Wheat of Galveston, Francis
Haubelt, Selma Schramm, Thetis Clay (Thornhill) King of
Dallas, Edward Luhn.
1901 — Mabel (Carrington) Brown of Austin, lone Chil-
dress, Bessie (Goodlet) Curry, Lsabel Haring, Ida Mae Lind-
emann, Myrtle McFarland, Ida Pflughaupt, Jennie Tarrant.
Lillian Carrington, Mary Childress, Maude Hardy, Annie
Portia (Healy) Smith of Corsicana, Elise (Lockett) Wil-
liamson, Jonnie Mae (Pennington) Smither of Huntsville.
Susan (Shepard) Wood of Houston, Erma (Tiemann) Som-
er, Edward Lewis Marek, Sarah Gross of New York City
(certificate), Thomas Bowers and Henr>^ Mueller.
1902— Bessie (Barber) Gilbert, Ella (Giesecke) Muery,
Emily Hardy, Anna Mulhern, Leonora Tautenhahn, Mary
Goldie Fink, Bessie Sloan, Lizzie (Irby) Blanks of Edna,
Minnie (Sonnenberg) Dobert, Bozena Wotipka, Lena Sus-
nitsky, Kleberg Langhammer, Rufus Nicholson of Hous-
ton, Thomas B. Botts, Frank Leo Minkwitz. Robert Lee
190:> — Aileen Brown, Esther Gross of New York City,
Hattie (Parks) Stone, Lillian Quebe, Annie Houston Tar-
rant, Bessie Lee (Williamson) Moore of Houston, Marjorie
(Harrison) Coale of Chicago. Louise (Langhammer) Hill
of Somerville, Minnie Lee (Sloan) Bettis, Norma (Tie-
mann) Lehmann, William H. Campbell of Beaumont. Reyn-
old Luhn of Taylor, O. A. Seward, Jr., of Beaumont, and
Ernest Farmer of Beaumont.
1904 — Velaska (Heinecke) Adams of La Grange, Kitty
Buchanan, Mabel (Wright) Blake, Henrietta (Teague)
Kanady, Lessie Meyer,* Mary Bielefeldt, Annie (Dawson)
Becker, Kenneth E. Krug, Emil Marek of Galveston, Solo.-
mon Harrison Endel, U. S. N. ; Thomas Buchanan, Forrest
Bettis and Walter Minkwitz of Sugarland.
1905 — Miladi (Haubelt) Seidel, Lena (Marek) Malina,
Mamie (Searcy) Kleberg of Kingsville, Ethel (Tucker)
Smith of Taylor, Millie Wotipka, Nettie Griffin, August
Heinecke of Seguin, William J. Embrey, Clay Seward and
1906 — Carolyn Heinecke, Dessie Lagle, Spencer Tarrant,
Elsie Quebe, Mattie (Colbert) Wood of Granger, Benita
Minkwitz of Richmond, Amelia (Hyman) Stubblefield of
Houston, Winnie (Davis) Rogers, Irene Reynolds, Ludelia
Wallace and Fred Heinecke.
rj07 — Bertha (Schuerenberg) DeWare, Nettie Mae (Ral-
ston) Booth, Dora Seidelmann, Myrtle Matthews, Myra
(Barnett) Krug, Esther Brewer, Adele Lindemann, Flor-
ence Stulken, Gertrude Hermann, Vera (Van Hutton)
Stuckert, Emma Mueller, Jessie Dawson and Ernest Seel-
1908 — Florence (Seward) Denson, Honolulu, Hawaiian
Islands ; Minnie Lee Gehrmann, Belle Hyman, Alfred Buch-
anan, Carl Niederauer, Robert Stuckert.
1909 — Belle Hyman (post-graduate), Ella Boyce McCor-
mick, Robert Stuckert (post-graduate), and Gerald Wag-
non of Cameron.
1910 — Marion Barnett of Davis, Oklahoma; Alma Herbst
and Eva Susnitsky.
1911 — Dorothy Chisolm, Mamie Schmid, Allyne ( Jaeggli)
Thompson, Benita Hoffmann, Louise (Styles) Pier, Ira O.
Pier, Julia Rankin, Robert P. Thompson, Henry Tucker and
Hermann L. Zschappell.
1912 — Oscar R. Hoffmann, Gus Fink, Bessie Hill Bumes.
Flora Susnitsky and lone Kenney.
1913 — Will M. Giddings, Schuerenberg Zschappell, Mar-
zee Thiel, Laura (Styles) Schmid, Emily (Sallis) Herbst,
Delia Niederauer, Blanche Beaumier, Mary Simmons, Mary
1914 — S. D. W. Low., Jr., Gustav Heinecke, Eugene Tie-
mann, Thelma Amsler, Ella Suter, Clarence Stuckert, Win-
ona Prinzing of Victoria, Julia Wade, Pauline Sallis, Ethel
Collins and Rosa Levine.
1915 — Mattie Reeves Wood, Gladys Griffin, Ileane Beau-
mier, Tina Grebe, Mary Patterson, J, P. Buchanan, Jr.,
George Hoffmann, Rheinhardt Jahnke, Herbert Fischer and
W. D. NOTLEY.
The present superintendent of the Brenham public schools
is W. D. Notley. He was born in Lamar County, Texas, near
the village of Brookston, where he received his early school-
ing under the excellent instruction of Prof. J. P. Cooper
and wife. He was induced at the age of 11 to study for the
profession of teaching. With that one great aim, he set
about studying with a gladness, and a zeal and determina-
tion seldom found in a youth yet so young, to fulfill a
mission which to him seemed greatest of all.
His schooling, extended over many years of hard study
and diligent application, has assured his success as a school
man. His education was received at Brookston High School,
the North Texas State Normal, University of Chicago, and
Columbia University, New York City.
His experience in teaching has extended over a period of
twelve years, during which time he has served as teacher
of rural schools, principal of ward and high schools, county
superintendent and city superintendent. Mr. Notley came
to his present position, the choice of seventy-three appli-
cants, July 1, 1911.
During the four and one-half years he has been superin-
tendent of the Brenham public schools he has proved him-
self a safe and sane leader and a man of broad visions.
He immediately proved himself worthy of the esteem and
confidence of his board of trustees, who gave him freedom
in the choice of his co-workers, to the extent that Bren-
ham today has one among the strongest faculties in the
South for her public schools.
The schools have improved in thoroughness, and con-
tinue to grow in the esteem of the leading universities and
colleges, where the Brenham students attend in increasing
numbers. The curriculum has been widened, admitting of
a broad elective system in the selection of studies. The
community, too, has been committed to a broad educational
policy, advocating a balance of practical and cultural sub-
jects. Manual training, agriculture, domestic science, do-
mestic art, music and drawing, have been added to the
curriculum along with foreign language. English, mathe-
matics, history and science. Increasing attention is being
given to physical education also, a physical director having
been recently appointed.
Student life has been greatly enhanced, by means of
athletic associations, glee clubs, literary societies and Boy
Scout and Camp Fire organizations.
Public opinion and school and community co-operation
have been secured through the Brenham Home and School
W. D. NOTLEY
Association, now with a membership of more than 200.
A lecture course and a monthly school social have been ■
instituted, thus supplying pleasure, and giving the public
contact with brilliant minds.
For upwards of forty years learned men have superin-
tended the Brenham public schools, and their growth has
been steady and sure. The administration of the present
superintendent has been an era of wonderful progress, the
enrollment has increased, the work of the teachers and
student body has been very gratifying, and the schools
have risen to their highest degree of excellence. These
great improvements are the results of the well directed
efforts of the man at the head. He is a brilliant scholar,
has quick and generous sensibilities and most gentlemanly
characteristics; is thoroughly familiar with all modern
school methods ; and, as an educator, stands in the foremost
place among the very best superintendents in Texas.
Mr. Notley is true to his youthful ideals, and the ambition
which urged the 11-year-old boy to become a teacher is
fully realized in the man, for he is devoting his life to the
education of children. In the wide field of educational
endeavor he faithfully guides the student-laborers ; he
teaches the little people to sow the tiny seeds of knowl-
edge; he encourages those older grown in the cultivation
of the young and tender plants of learning, and when there
is full fruition of the hopes of the toilers, he rejoices in
the educational harvest of the youthful men and women.
J. R. Ilollmey taught an excellent private school for a
number of years. Miss Mary Rial founded the "Mary Rial
High School," which grew and flourished during the closing
years of the last Century. The German-American Institute
was established and successfully conducted for ten years by
The Lutheran College, originally the Phillip Bickler
school, now at Seguin, was located in Brenham for a short
while. In 1909 the Dominican Sisters came from Galves-
ton and opened the Sacred Heart Convent in the old public
school building which had been purchased from the city
authorities, and from the beginning this educational venture
has been a success.
BLINN MEMORIAL COLLEGE.
Beautiful Blinn Memorial College, situated on one of the
highest hills in Brenham, is the especial pride of Brenham-
ites. This fine educational institution for boys and girls had
its beginning at the annual session of the German Confer-
ence of the Methodist Church, held in Seguin November 30
to December 4, 1882, when Rev, Carl Urbantke was author-
ized to establish a school in this city. Its first session began
in March, 1883, and its first name. Mission Institute, sug-
gested its purpose of training young men for the ministry.
However, other demands made upon the school led to the ad-
dition of other departments, until now it offers instruction
in all the branches usually taught in schools and business
colleges. The first enrollment was three students, and from
this small number the enrollment has gradually increased
until there are over 200 boys and girls from various places
in Texas in attendance.
In March, 1887, the Rev. Christian Blinn, of New York,
visited the school. Before he left he had interested the
citizens of Brenham in the little school, had built a two-story
building now used as a boys' dormitory, paid the salary of
an additional teacher, and contributed to the endowment.
The total amount contributed by Mr. Blinn and his family
is $20,000. It was in gratitude for these gifts that the Con-
ference in 1889 changed the name to Blinn Memorial College.
The school at present owns property and endowment
valued conservatively at $175,000. The Main Building and
the Girls' Dormitory are each valued at $30,000. It has
seven teachers — six men and one lady. It gives instruction
in the following courses : Preparatory, Academic, Commer-
cial, Stenographic, Theological, Music, Voice. It is affili-
ated with the State University. Its graduates and former
students have an enviable reputation for efficiency in vari-
ous walks of life.
The citizens of Brenham have always looked with pride
upon its progress and have contributed liberally to the funds
for the purchase of grounds and the erection of buildings.
Its present president is J. L. Neu ; treasurer. Rev. W. A.
Moers, and financial agent. Rev. J. Streit.
JACOB LORENZ NEU.
Jacob Lorenz Neu was born in Brenham in 1873. He
received his elementary education in private schools and is
a graduate of the Brenham High School of the class of '89.
He holds the B. A. degree from the State University and has
attended the theological classes in Blinn Memorial College
for a term and the summer sessions of Baylor University
and of the Summer School of the South.
His teaching experience began with public school work.
In 1896 he was elected a teacher in Blinn Memorial College,
being in charge of the Preparatory classes. Later he was
put in charge of the English Department. He is also inter-
J. L. Neu
ested in the study of American History, especially of Texas
history, and is librarian of the school.
For nineteen years J. L. Neu has been connected with
Blinn Memorial College, serving for the past six years as
the capable and efficient president. Under his careful
guidance the school has grown and prospered until it is on
an equal footing with the best colleges in the State. He is
an ideal educator, scholarly, hard-working, courageous, hon-
est and sincere, and is devoted to his profession from the
love of it. One of the supreme elements of his character is
force, and this, added to earnestness, is the secret of his suc-
cess in the management of the affairs of Blinn Memorial
When the liberty loving men came to settle Texas they
brought their Bibles with them, and they came with the
full determination of worshiping God according to their
Methodism was established in Brenham in 1844, in the
"Hickory Grove" school house, under the leadership of J.
D. Giddings. Some of the names on the first church roll
were J. D. Giddings, Mrs. A. M. Giddings, Mrs. Arabella
Harrington, John Elgin, Mrs. Elgin, Prosper Hope, James
Clemmons, John G. Heffington, E. D. Tarver, Rev. John
W. Kenney and R. B. Wells. A Sunday School was organ-
ized, and J. D. Giddings was the first superintendent. On
July 1, 1848, the church purchased one acre of ground
where the Christian Church now stands, from Jesse Farral,
for a consideration of $100.00. It took time to build the
church, as the cedar logs had to be felled and hauled, and
sawed with a whip-saw. All the timbers, weatherboarding
and ceiling were hewn, sawed and planed by hand, and it
was in 1851 or 1852 before the sacred edifice was finally
completed. It was 30 by 50 feet, had two doors in front,
three glass windows on each side and two in the north end.
The pulpit was high and had to be reached by two or three
steps ; it was boarded round, so that when the preacher
sat down he was almost out of sight of his congregation.
A spire and a sweet-toned bell completed this house of wor-
ship. Robert Alexander, B. H. Peel, John W. Kenney, filled
regular appointments, and Rev. Lewis was the local pastor.
J. D. Giddings was the superintendent of the Sunday School
from 1844 to 1878, the year of his death. The Texas Con-
ference was held in Brenham in 1868, and F. C. Wilkes
was the local pastor at the time. He was succeeded by
F. A. Mood and B. D. Dashiell. Giddings Memorial Meth-
odist Church, so named in memory of J. D. Giddings, was
erected in 1879, when F. A. Mitchell was pastor. The
present pastor is Ernest G. Cooke. The presiding elder of
the Brenham district is S. W. Thomas.
H. N. Pierce of New York organized St. Peter's Parish
of the Protestant Episcopal Church prior to November 1,
1848. He received a pledge, from Trinity Church of New
York, of $2,000 for an Episcopal Church building in Bren-
ham, conditioned on the fact that the citizens would raise
$2,000.00 more. The public spirited citizens gave the requi-
site amount. H. N. Pierce was the first rector. He after-
wards became Bi.shop of Arkansas. The second rector was
L. P. Rucker. The old church building of brick gave way
in 1901 to the present church. The lot was bought May 6,
1852, from A. G. Compton, for a consideration of $1,100.00.
P'or the past eleven years S. Moylan Bird has served this
church faithfully and well as rector.
Interest in the Baptist Church was aroused in November,
1848, by Rufus C. Burleson, who held a very successful
revival in the "Hickory Grove" school house. Many people
joined the church, but until 1851 the Brenham Baptists
were known as "an arm" of the Mill Creek Baptist Church.
In December of that year the First Baptist Church of Bren-
ham was organized, and Rufus C. Burleson preached the
first sermon. Among the early preachers who filled appoint-
ments were Z. N. Morrell, William Melton Tryon, Elder
Noah T. Byars and Elder Hosea Garrett. The lot upon
which the present church stands was acquired by purchase
from a free negro named "Enos" — the price was $25.00.
The original church was built in 1852 on this lot, and noth-
ing but cedar was used in its construction. In 1884 a new
church was erected, largely through the efforts of Mrs.
Myra Graves. The old cedar edifice was sold to James A.
Wilkins for $100.00. W. R. Brown is the pastor at the
ST. PAUL'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.
This church was organized in 1890 by G. Langner, who
served as its pastor until 1913, when he resigned. The
first church building was constructed in 1891, but was de-
molished by the 1900 storm, and the present edifice was
built imimediately afterwards. Edward A. Sagabiel, the
present pastor, organized the first Luther League in Texas
in Brenham in 1913. This league has a membership of
GERMAN METHODIST CHURCH.
Carl Urbantke organized the German Methodist Church
in 1873 and was its first pastor, in which capacity he served
until his death about 1909. He assisted in the construction
of the first church building, which was built by F. B.
Wiebusch, one of the most devout members. In 1913 a
new church was erected, when W. A. Moers was the pastor.
Today A. A. Leifeste has charge of this church.
The Christian Church was established during the '80s,
and the first services were held in the old church which
was bought from the Methodists and was situated upon
the lot where is standing the present church. The burning
in 1884 of the building necessitated the construction of the
new sacred edifice. For a long term of years A. D. Milroy
has been doing a wonderful work for the Master in this
ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH.
In 1870, Bishop N. A. Gallagher of Galveston purchased
the ground upon which is located St. Mary's Catholic
Church; and it was about this year that the church was
organized and a church building erected. Some years ago
a new church was built. Father M. J. Tabor is in charge
at present. For over forty-five years Mrs. Mary Dwyer
Ross has been one of the most active and influential mem-
The German Baptist Church was established many years
ago. Rev. Voigt is the pastor.
Through the instrumentality of Mrs. J. F. Schramm the
Seventh Day Adventist Church was organized in Brenham.
She is one of the most active and faithful members. Sev-
eral years ago the church was erected in South Brenham.
No one family in the history of Texas, from the time it
was under Mexican rule to the present period, has planted
a higher standard of excellence than that raised and main-
tained by the Giddings; and no one family in Washington
County has been more prominent and influential. Giles A.
Giddings, the first of six illustrious brothers, the patriot
and soldier, who was mortally wounded at San Jacinto,
arrived in Texas in 1835. J. D. Giddings, the Texas Vet-
eran, came in 1838. He was followed in 1848 by James J.
Giddings, the civil engineer, and George H. Giddings, the
Confederate Colonel. The year 1852 marked the advent
of D. C. Giddings, the Confederate lieutenant colonel, the
congressman and banker; and Frank Giddings, the physi-
cian and surgeon. The Giddings of today is D. C, who is
at the head of the vast estate and the private bank of
Giddings & Giddings. He is a worthy representative of his
distinguished ancestors; and, when his useful life is ended,
he will be succeeded by his young son, D. C. Giddings, Jr.,
in whom the leading characteristics of the bold and enter-
prising Giddings are very pronounced.
Brenham owes an everlasting debt of gratitude to J. D.
Giddings, his brother, D. C. Giddings, and son, D. C. Gid-
dings ; for in every epoch-making event during the past
seventy-one years they have been central figures.
JABEZ DEMMING GIDDINGS.
Many bright men helped to form, inaugurate and wield
the affairs of Brenham in the constructive period of its
history ; but to J. D. Giddings, more than to any other man,
must be given the credit of having founded the City of
Primarily, it owes its very existence to him ; for it was
through his efforts that it became the county seat in 1844.
His experience as a teacher guided him in the promotion
of Brenham's educational interests. He helped the cause
of religion by assisting in the establishment of Methodism.
With the aid of his brother, D. C. Giddings, he virtually
built the Washington County Railroad, Upon his advice
Brenham was incorporated. He was a member of the
legislature in the reconstruction days, and introduced meas-
ures that were beneficial to Brenham. In 1866, in copart-
nership with D. C. Giddingrs. he established the first bank.
He aided in the removal of the Federal soldiers from Camp-
town. He was a leading lawyer.
J. D. Giddings was born in Susquehanna County. Penn-
sylvania ; James Giddings and Lucy Demming Giddings
were his parents. His father first entered the merchant
marine, and at 21 was a captain with the full charge of
a cargo. A shipwreck off the Carolina coast destroyed the
labor of a lifetime. He abandoned the sea and went into
the wilderness of Western Pennsylvania and established
a farm. His mother was a beautiful character, and her
life was spent in rearing her sons and training them to
walk in the paths of honor and virtue. She laid the foun-
dations of the excellent educations of her children.
In the spring of 1838, J. D. Giddings came to Texas,
seeking information about his brother, Giles A. Giddings,
who died from wounds received at the battle of San Ja-
cinto. Giles A. Giddings, being a civil engineer, came to
Texas in 1835, to survey a land grant for the purpose of
establishing a colony. Twelve days before Sam Houston
met Santa Anna his patriotism caused him to abandon the
surveying and Indian fighting, in which he was then en-
gaged, and enlist in Company A, Captain William Woods
commanding, of the First Regiment of Texas Volunteers,
of which Edward Burleson was colonel. The night before
the engagement at San Jacinto Giles A. Giddings wrote
his parents a loving letter indicative of sublime courage
and an inborn love of liberty. This valuable document
reads as follows :
Texas, Four Miles from Head-quarters.
April 10, 1836.
Dear Parents: — Since I last wrote you I have been en-
gaged in arranging an expedition against the Indians, who
have committed many depredations against the frontier.
On my return to the settlements. I learned that our country
was again invaded by a merciless horde of Mexicans, who
were waging a war of extermination against the inhabit-
ants. A call was made for all friends of humanity to rise
in arms and resist the foe. Men were panic-stricken and
lied, leaving their all behind them. I could not reconcile
it to my feelings to leave Texas without an effort to save
it. Accordingly, I bent my course for the army and ar-
rived last evening at this place. I shall enter camp this
morning as a volunteer. The army, commanded by Gen.
Houston, is lying on the west side of the Brazos, 20 miles
from San Fillippe. The enemy is in that place waiting
an attack. It is reported Houston will attack them in the
morning. What will be the result, or the fate of Texas,
is hid in the bowels of futurity. Yet, I think we are engaged
in the cause of justice, and hope the God of battles will
protect us. The enemy's course has been the most bloody
that has ever been recorded on the page of history. Our
garrison at San Antonio was taken and massacred ; so an-
other detachment of 700, commanded by Col. Fannin, and
posted at La Bahia, after surrendering prisoners of war,
were led out and shot down like bears. Only one escaped,
to tell their melancholy fate. In their course they show
no quarter to age, sex or condition — all are massacred
without mercy. If such conduct is not sufficient to arouse
the patriotic feelings of the sons of liberty, I know not
what will. I was born in a land of freedom, and taught
to lisp the name of liberty with my infant tongue, and
rather than be driven out of the country or submit to be
a slave, I will leave my bones to bleach on the plains of
Texas. If we succeed in subduing the enemy and establish-
ing a free and independent government, we shall have the
finest country the sun ever shone upon, and if we fail we
shall have the satisfaction of dying fighting for the rights
of man. I know not that I shall have an opportunity of
writing to you in some time, but shall do so as often as is
convenient. Be not alarmed about my safety. I am no
better, and my life no dearer, than those who gained the
liberty you enjoy. If I fail you will have the satisfaction
that your son died fighting for the rights of man. Our
strength in the field is about 1,500. The enemy is reported
4,000 strong; a fearful odds, you will say; but what can
mercenary hirelings do against the sons of liberty?
Before this reaches you the fate of Texas will be known.
I will endeavor to acquaint you as soon as possible. I am
well and in good spirits, and as unconcerned as if going to
a raising. The same Being who has hitherto protected my
life can with equal ease ward off the balls of the enemy.
My company is waiting, and I must draw to a close, and
bid you farewell, perhaps forever. More than a year has
elapsed since I saw you, yet the thoughts of friends and
home are fresh in my memory, and their remembrance yet
lives in my affections and will light a secret joy to my
heart till it shall cease to beat. Long has it been since
I have heard from you. How often do I think of home and
wish to be there. The thought of that sacred spot haunts
my night-watches. How often, when sleep has taken pos-
session of my faculties, am I transported there, and for a
short time enjoy all the pleasures of home; but the delu-
sion is soon over, and the morning returns and I find my
situation the same. Dear friends, if I see you no more,
remember Giles still loves you. Give my love to my sis-
ters, brothers, friends and neighbors. I would write more
if time would permit, but its fleeting steps wait for none.
You need not write to me, as I do not know where I shall be.
With sentiments of sincere respect I bid you farewell.
Your affectionate son,
G. A. GiDDINGS.
J. D. Giddings' first vocation in Washington County was
that of teaching. He was considered a very fine educator.
He taught school near Independence, in a log house with
a puncheon floor, and numbered among his pupils grown
men and women. Before opening school he directed the
building of the school house, and was assisted by a few of
the students, who helped him operate the whip-saw with
which the cedar logs were prepared.
The love of adventure and hunting caused this pioneer
to make many excursions into the wilds of the forests.
During 1839, while on an expedition of this kind, between
Cummings Creek and Rutersville, he and his companion
were chased by Indians and narrowly escaped with their
When volunteers were called for in 1843 to avenge the
raids of Vasquez and Woll, and to rescue prisoners held
in Mexico, he promptly enlisted in Alexander Somervell's
army, and remained until the disbanding of the majority
of the soldiers, thus escaping the horrors of the Mier Expe-
When Congress ordered an election in 1844, for the estab-
lishment of a permanent seat of justice for Washington
County, J. D. Giddings was vitally interested in the suc-
cess of Brenham. He traveled night and day, and made
speeches in every town and settlement, with the gratifying
result that Brenham was elected. The people of the time
ascribed Brenham's success to the untiring labors of J. D.
Giddings. He cast his lot, heart and soul, with the infant
town, and formulated plans for its upbuilding. Realizing
that religion was the foundation of good citizenship, his
first thought was the establishment of a church ; and he
interested the good men and women in this laudable under-
taking, to the end that Rev. Robert Alexander responded
to an appeal, and the Methodist Church was organized in
1844 in the Hickory Grove school house. A Sunday School
was started, and J. D. Giddings was the first superintend-
ent, serving in this capacity until he died. IMethodism in
Brenham for the first 37 years is closely interwoven with
the life of this devout Christian.
When Graham Lodge, A. F. & A. M., was organized,
this good man became a charter member. His religion
enabled him to fully appreciate the sublime beauties of
the Masonic ritual, and at different times he held the highest
offices in the three grand divisions of Masonry. In 1848,
when the Masons took charge of the Hickory Grove Scho'ol,
he was a potent factor in the building of the Masonic
Academy and in the introduction of new methods of teach-
Being sensible of the beneficial effects of railroads, and
assisted by his brother, D. C. Giddings, he organized the
"Washington County Railroad Company," for the purpose
of building a railroad. As promoters of the second rail-
road to be built in Texas, these patriotic brothers displayed
ability, energy and courage in surmounting the difficulties
with which they were confronted. To prevent the failure
of the enterprise they virtually built the road themselves.
It ran from Brenham to Hempstead, a distance of 21
miles. This line was but a short one, yet its construction
during these pioneer days elevated the builders to the high-
est plane of business capacity, and laid the foundation for
Brenham's commercial importance.
Following his policy of advocating every measure con-
ducive to the improvement of his home town, J. D. Giddings
suggested that Brenham be incorporated, and an election
for this purpose was held May 29, 1858, duly incorporating
In 1866, when problems of vital interest to the peace
and happiness of the people" of Texas came up for solu-
tion in the first legislature to assemble during the recon-
struction period, this statesman, as representative, from
Washington County, served on many important commit-
tees, and was chairman of the judiciary committee. At
the close of his term of service he was offered other polit-
ical honors, which he declined.
Commercial conditions in 1866 made the establishment
of a bank a necessity, and J. D. & D. C. Giddings founded
the first financial institution of Washington County, under
the firm name of Giddings & Giddings. J. D. Giddings
was the senior member of the firm.
The encampment of the Federal soldiers at Campto\ATi
having become a trouble and annoyance to the citizens, J.
D. Giddings, with his brother, D. C. Giddings, was instru-
mental in having these objectionable soldiers removed in
In 1844 J. D. Giddings was united in marriage to Miss
Ann M. Tarver, daughter of Edmund T. Tarver, a prom-
inent farmer who had moved to the Republic of Texas, in
1841. from Tennessee. Of this union there are only two chil-
dren living, Mrs. Heber Stone and Charles Giddingrs. Mrs.
Stone's children are Giddings, Heber, Albert, Mary, the
wife of R. E. Nicholson, and Louise. At J. D. Giddings'
home, a two-story residence constructed of cedar, in North
Brenham, the latch string was ever on the outside; and
the poor, way-worn traveler, and the famous men and
women of Texas, were welcomed alike, with true Southern
hospitality. A few years prior to his death, he built the
palatial country residence one mile south of the city. The
fall of 1844 marked the building of his law office, which
was constructed of logs on the spot where now stands
the brick building owned by Charles Giddings. Though
numbering among his competitors some of the brightest
minds in Texas, he achieved signal success as a lawyer. He
was a great student, a lifelong hard worker, and an ex-
haustive speaker, being always prepared. With strict in-
tegrity and fidelity to the cause of his clients, he soon
had a greater law practice than he could manage, so in
1852 he became associated with his brother, D. C. Gid-
dings ; and for many years they were among the most prom-
inent and influential practitioners in the State.
Giddings, the county seat of Lee County, was so named
in honor of J. D. Giddings. The Giddings Memorial Meth-
odist Church is a monument to his memory, and tells silently
and eloquentlv of the work he did to advance the cause of
While he was a teacher of rare attainments, a Texas
Veteran of unquestioned bravery, a lawyer of great bril-
liance, and a business man of sound judgment, it was as a
devout Christian that the character of J. D. Giddings shines
with great splendor. Into his daily life he carried religion,
and in dealing with his fellow men justice was tempered
with mercy, for always he followed the lead of the Man
of Galilee,' who said, "Love ye one another." At the time
of his death, which occurred June 25, 1878, following in-
juries sustained by a fall from his buggy, few citizens in
this section of Texas were more beloved and certainly none
had truer friends than this noble character. The highest
tribute that can be paid a good man when he enters into
everlasting rest is to say that he lived and died a Christian,
COL. D. C. GIDDINGS.
Even in a family like the Giddings, where every son is
distinguished, it usually follows that one achieves more
renown than all the others. D. C. Giddings lived and
breathed in an Alpine atmosphere, where his lofty ideals.
brilliant intellect and rugged personality towered above
the majority of his contemporaries. He never ceased to
call to the weary travelers in the dark valleys below, and
encourage them likewise to climb the bright mountain
heights where bloomed the edelweiss flowers of faith, and
hope, and love.
In the same country farm house in Susquehanna County,
Pennsylvania, where his brothers first saw the light of day,
D. C. Giddings, the youngest son of James and Lucy Dem-
ming Giddings, was born, July 18, 1827. As one by one his
older brothers received their educations and attained their
majorities they left the parental roof to make their homes
in Texas, the new country whose wonderful resources had
been so much exploited. Letters received from them fired
the ambitious soul of the younger brother, and the lure
of the great, throbbing, pulsating world urged him on, and
impelled him to seek a more liberal education. He taught
rural schools to earn the money with which to defray ex-
penses, and at the early age of twenty years became a civil
engineer for a railroad, and three years later he was found
reading law in the office of Earl Wheeler, one of the most
prominent Pennsylvania lawyers, whose home was in Hones-
Fully equipped, both mentally and physically, for the
battle of life, D. C. Giddings arrived in Brenham in 1852,
and went at once into the law office of his brother, J. D.
Giddings. So well informed was he upon the vital ques-
tions of the times, and upon the salient points of law, that
he soon ranked as a leading citizen and influential lawyer.
When the war clouds gathered in '61, D. C. Giddings,
being a conservative, opposed the secession of Texas, be-
lieving that Southern rights could best be served through
the Union ; but when the Lone Star State joined the Con-
federacy, he went, heart and soul, with his adopted State,
and immediately entered the 21st Texas Cavalry as a pri-
vate. He was soon elected captain, and shortly afterwards
lieutenant colonel. Owing to the absence of Carter, the
superior officer, he was virtually colonel, and commanded
the regiment in all of its engagements in the trans-Missis-
sippi department. While on a scouting expedition near
Helena, Arkansas, he was taken prisoner and sent to St.
Louis, after a fight in which he, with 60 of his men, had
killed, wounded or captured 98 of the enemy. At the expi-
ration of six weeks he was exchanged and rejoined his
command in time to be with Marmaduke when he made
his famous raid into Missouri. He also participated in
most of the battles in the Louisiana campaign. Through
the four years' strife, and as long as he lived, his men
honored and loved him, and those above him in military
circles admired and respected him. The following official
order from General Wharton pays tribute to the talented
officer and heroic soldier, who was as brave as a lion :
"Headquarters Wharton's Cavalry Corps,
"In the Field, May 24, 1864.
"General Order No. 8.
"The Major General Commanding takes pleasure in call-
ing the attention of the troops under his command to the
gallant conduct of Lt. Col. D. C. Giddings, and four com-
panies of the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, under his com-
mand, on the 21st April, 1864, two miles this side of Clou-
"On this occasion Lt. Col. Giddings, with these four com-
panies, made a most gallant charge against the enemy,
greatly superior to him in number and strongly posted
behind fences and houses, driving them from their posi-
tions and holding it until reinforcements were sent him.
Not only on this, but on several other occasions, has the
chivalry and daring of Lt. Col. Giddings been personally
marked with pleasure by the Major General Commanding.
"By order of
(Signed) "Maj. Gen'l Jno. A. Wharton.
"B. H. Davis, A. A. A. Gen'l.
"Official. Cowles A. A. A. G."
There is a massive bronze tablet in the museum of the
United Daughters of the Confederacy at Austin, which
pays tribute to this daring Confederate soldier, and the
inscription reads as follows: "Erected by Brenham Tom
Green Chapter, U. D. C, in loving memory of D. C. Gid-
dings, Lieutenant Colonel, 21st Texas Cavalry. A brave
soldier, loyal citizen and faithful public officer."
At the close of the terrible war, D. C. Giddings, with
the energy and fortitude of a dauntless young man, began
life anew in Brenham, resuming the practice of law, and
bending his best efforts to the improvement of demoralized
conditions, and to the upbuilding of his home town. ■ He
was elected in 1866 and served as a member of the State
Constitutional Convention, and was known as one of the
most aggressive and influential men of Texas during the
reconstruction period. The democratic nomination for Con-
gress was tendered him at the Houston convention in 1870,
and in view of the power of the republican party and its
black cohorts, and the popularity of Gen. William T. Clark,
the carpet-bag nominee, his election was deemed well nigh
impossible. It was necessary for some patriot to break the
republican rule; and, as D. C. Giddin^^s was made of stern
material and feared no living thing, not even assassins, he
very promptly, in a buggy, canvassed the entire district,
comprising then nearly one-quarter of the State, and in
forty days delivered sixty rousing speeches. This was
truly a remarkable record in oratory and traveling, as
railroads were few, and the swift locomotion afforded by
automobiles was unknown. A negro company of the "Da-
vis police" often preceded the speaker, and daily threat-
ened to arrest and place him in irons. His scathing ar-
raignment of the administration of Governor E. J. Davis,
however, rallied the good people to his cause, and he was
victorious by a good majority, notwithstanding which the
certificate of election was given to Clark. Col. Giddings
contested for the seat before the national House of Repre-
sentatives, and so eloquently and earnestly did he plead the
cause of his constituents that he was seated by a unanimous
vote — an unusual occurrence, as it was a republican body of
men. This first fight against republican misrule virtually
terminated their authority in Texas. Of his services in Con-
gress it has been said: "Col. Giddings was one of a con-
spicuous group of Southern men whose sturdy bravery and
tactful resistance against the overwhelming reconstruction
forces defended the South from yet greater evils than those
which did befall. The seat of government at Washington
at that time was the source of the greatest evils which
the defeated South would yet experience, and in staying
the ruthless and arrogant power of a Northern Congress,
Col. GiddingfS and his associates earned a meed of lasting
During the war, in order to secure a supply of arms and
ammunition, Texas sent $300,000.00 worth of United States
bonds to Europe to be sold. Part of these securities were
disposed of, and the proceeds invested in war supplies;
but when the fall of the Confederacy came, some bonds
and money not expended were on deposit with the bank-
ers. The United States refused payment of the interest on
the bonds that had been sold, and the holder of the bonds
attached the unsold bonds and enjoined the bankers against
paying the money on deposit to the State of Texas. Gov-
ernor Coke appointed the firm of J. D. & D. C. Giddings
as agents for Texas, and after great labor, and a trip to
Europe, Col. D. C. Giddings brought back and turned into
the treasury $339,000.00.
When the Brenham Volunteer Fire Department was or-
ganized in 1867, ostensibly for protection against fire, but
in reality as a military company to suppress the lawless-
ness of the Federal soldiers then camped at Camptown,
Col. Giddings was elected chief; and on May 28, 1867, upon
the establishment of the Hook and Ladder Company No. 1
he was chosen foreman; and until the day of his death
the department had in him a staunch and true friend.
As an appreciation of the great value of education, he
was the first man to advocate the founding of the Brenham
Public Schools, in 1875 ; and no enthusiast gave the measure
more hearty co-operation than he. His wisdom and sagacity
as a member of the board of trustees at different times
helped to place the schools on a firm foundation.
Duties at the bank of Giddings & Giddings, where busi-
ness was constantly on the increase, made its absolutely
necessary in 1875 for Col. Giddings to give up the active
practice of law — the profession to which he was devoted,
and which he so well adorned ; and this decision removed
from the South Texas bar one of its ablest practitioners
and brightest legal minds, J. D. Giddings died in 1878,
thus placing the entire responsibility upon D. C. Giddings ;
and in 1884 he bought the interest of his brother's heirs
and became sole proprietor. A few months later he ad-
mitted his son, DeWitt Clinton Giddings, to copartnership.
For 37 years, beginning with 1866, the date of the estab-
lishment of this banking house. Col. Giddings labored early
and late, and was rewarded long before his death with
the gratifying knowledge that the bank of Giddings &
Giddings was one of the safest and strongest financial
institutions in all Texas. When Col. Giddings died, his
will provided for the continuance of the bank under the
management of his son, D. C. Giddings.
In spite of the quarantine ordinance which D. C. Gid-
dings submitted to the city council, and which was passed
August 13, 1867, the yellow fever invaded Brenham. No
nobler example of heroism may be found among the annals
of men than that given by this good citizen, when he faced
danger and death, and gently, and unselfishly ministered to
the sufferers. By day and night for three months he nursed
the ill and dying, allowing himself scant rest, and so sad
were the conditions and so great the death rate, that Col.
Giddings often superintended the interments in the graves
at the old Masonic Cemetery, which he had helped the
colored laborers to excavate; and sometimes he was the
sole mourner, for yellow fever was in every home, and
few people were able to attend funerals.
Miss Malinda C. Lusk and D. C. Giddings were united
in marriage in Brenham in 1860, and they began house-
keeping on the spot where now stands the Giddings home.
Mrs. Giddings was the daughter of Samuel C. Lusk, a Rev-
olutionary soldier, and was born near Independence in
18o6, just after the battle of San Jacinto had been fought.
She was a singularly beautiful character in every respect,
and was very prominent in the social, educational, and re-
ligious life of Brenham. Being gifted with a lyric soprano
voice of wonderful range and volume, she was naturally the
leader in musical circles, and in the Baptist Church choir,
for every entertainment of note, and for the pleasure
of her friends, she sang divinely. The poor and needy
found in her a true friend, and when she died there was
The death of his beloved wife was the greatest sorrow
that came to Col. Giddings ; but with his usual courage and
fortitude he faced this irreparable loss. He devoted the
remainder of his life to rearing his three motherless chil-
dren, D. C. Giddings, Jr., Mary Belle and Lillian. Even
after his niece, Mrs. Foote, and her daughter, Miss Frankie
A. Foote, upon his invitation, had taken charge of his
household, he never ceased to discharge the duties of both
father and mother ; and at no time during his career was
he too busy to listen to the appeals, or to fulfill the wishes
of the little ones that were so near and dear to his great
heart. The Giddings home became a social center for small
children, with Col. Giddings as chief entertainer and char-
acter-builder, and they always found the beautiful side of his
rugged nature — for he loved them and they loved him.
Often in the evenings he told stories to his children and their
little playmates ; and many a moral lesson did he teach with
some interesting account of his travels, or some finely
pointed talk on the principles of right-living.
In 1903 Col. Giddings' health failed, and the line gray
head sank lower as the weeks went by, and the kindly eyes
began to look upon the world with lessening interest from
day to day ; and at the last, when death touched the eyelids
down, the classic face took on the philosopher's welcoming
smile. Under his own roof and surrounded by those who
knew him best and loved him most, he met his fate like the
brave soldier that he was. From every viewpoint, as a
good citizen, renowned lawyer, gallant Confederate sol-
dier, peerless statesman and able congressman, and as a
banker of strict integrity and an honest man. Col. Gid-
dings was decidedly one of the most eminent men of Texas.
RESOLUTIONS OF BAR ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON COUNTY
ON THE DEATH OF COL. D. C. GIDDINGS.
Judge C. C. Garrett presented and read the following
report of the committee :
Mr. President: The committee appointed at a meeting
of the Bar Association of Washington County to prepare
resolutions concerning the death of the Honorable D. C.
Giddings submit the following:
DeWitt Clinton Giddings died at his home in Brenham
on August 19, 1903, at 10 o'clock p. m.
He was born July 18, 1827, in Susquehanna County,
Pennsylvania, and moved to Texas in 1852 and settled in
Brenham, Washington County, where he resided until his
death. DeWitt Clinton Giddings was descended from a
sturdy stock of pioneers in America, and belonged to a
family well known in the history of this country since
Colonial days for patriotism and moral and material
strength. Before coming to Texas he had studied law,
and on his arrival was admitted to the bar and entered
upon the practice of his profession in partnership with
his brother, J. D. Giddings, who had preceded him to Texas
a number of years. When he came to the bar of Wash-
ington County he found lawyers practicing here whose
names then and afterwards were famous in the history of
It is only necessary to name them in order to show the
school of learning and ability which young Giddings en-
tered. Of the older set there were Asa M. Lewis, W. Y.
McFarland, J. D. Giddings, Chauncey B. and James E.
Shepard, Judge Horton, James Willie, B. E. Tarver and
John Sayles. Among the young men were B. H. Davis,
Ben H. and Jefferson Bassett, Josiah Crosby and Asa H.
Willie. The law firm of Giddings & Giddings soon acquired
an extensive practice and became well known throughout
the State for ability and high character. Afterwards
changes were made in the firm by the introduction of other
members, and ''Giddings & Onins," and "Giddings & Mor-
ris," appeared on dockets of the courts and in the Supreme
Court reports in many important cases.
Col. Giddings was a State's rights democrat. He be-
lieved in the preservation of the Union, but when Texas
seceded he went with his State. From the ranks he was
advanced to the grade of lieutenant colonel, and distin-
guished himself in the battles of the Confederacy. His
standard having gone down in defeat, he devoted himself
to the patriotic duty of the restoration of his people. He
served in the Constitutional Convention of 1866, and in
1872, when others held back, he entered the contest against
the carpet-bagger Clark, in the old Third congressional dis-
trict, during the darkest days of reconstruction, and made
the breach in the ranks of the republican party which
opened the way to its destruction in Texas. After some
years of service in Congress, Col. Giddings returned to
private life, and on the death of his brother gave up the
practice of law and devoted himself to banking. The bank-
ing firm of Giddings & Giddings was established soon after
the war, and for many years has been well known for its
financial strength and conservative methods of business.
Endowed with a sound judgment and a public spirit,
he was ever ready to aid and foster the business enterprises
of his city, and generously contributed to its material ad-
vancement. In 1860 he married Miss Malinda Lusk, the
daughter of Sam Lusk, one of the framers of the Con-
stitution of the Republic of Texas. Of the marriage there
were five children. Mrs. Giddings died in 1869. D. C.
Giddings, Jr., is the only survivor of the children. Two
daughters, Mary Belle and Lillian, were married and died,
leaving children, Hallie B. Cooke, the daughter of Mary
Belle; and Mabel, Marion and Lillian Wilkin, daughters of
Col. Giddings was a man of firm conviction and tenacity
of purpose. He was just and fearless in the discharge of
his duty, his conclusions were reached after mature con-
sideration and he was seldom wrong. Sternly honest and
sincere and plain of speech, he gave utterance to his con-
victions in no uncertain words, and there was never any
doubt as to how he stood upon any question that came up
for solution, or his views as to the character or policy of
any action. He was a safe counselor and a generous friend.
Such is the man whose memory this Association would
Therefore, Be it resolved :
1. That the members of the Bar Association of Wash-
ington County deplore the loss of their deceased brother,
D. C. Giddings, and join the people of Texas in mourning
his death. The State has lost an eminent citizen, fifty years
of whose life were spent in the advancement of its political
and material prosperity; and the people of Washington
County have lost a friend whose devotion to their interests
has been attested by many acts of public spirited generosity,
A good citizen, a just man and a generous friend has gone
from our midst.
2. In the memory of our deceased brother, the Court of
Records of Washington County, the Court of Civil Appeals
for the First District and the Supreme Court of this State,
will be requested to take appropriate notice of his death,
and make such orders as may be deemed suitable for the
permanent record thereof. For that purpose, these resolu-
tions will be presented to the County Court by the Hon.
Ben S. Rogers, and to the District Court by the Hon. W\ W.
Searcy, and the Hon. Thos. B. Botts. The Hon. F. Chas.
Hume is requested to present them to the Court of Civil
Appeals, and the Hon. W. M. Walton is requested to present
them to the Supreme Court.
To the family of the deceased we tender our respectful
sympathy in their grief for the death of their beloved father
and head, whose life of love, strength and devotion attached
them to him by the tenderest and dearest ties. Their con-
solation is that he lived to a ripe old age and departed after
a well spent life, full of honors, beloved and respected.
That the members of the Association attend the funeral
of the deceased in a body.
The secretary will record these resolutions and send copies
thereof to D. C. Giddings, Jr., E. H. Cooke, J. L. Wilkin
and Mrs. Heber Stone. He will furnish copies to the news-
papers for publication.
C. C. Garrett, Chairman,
Ben S. Rogers,
W. W. Searcy,
W. B. Garrett,
J. M. Mathis.
On motion of Major Thos. B. Botts, the resolutions as
presented were unanimously adopted.
A motion was made and unanimously carried that all
members of this Association, meet at the office of Major
Botts at 4 :30 p. m. for the purpose of attending in a body
the funeral of our late lamented brother. Col. D. C. Gid-
dings. There being no further business, the Association
W. W. Searcy, President.
R. J. Swearengen, Sec'ty.
D. C. GIDDINGS.
D. C. Giddings, the son of Col. D. C. Giddings and Ma-
linda C. (Lusk) Giddings, was born in Brenham, Texas,
January 27, 1863. His education was acquired in the Bren-
ham Public Schools, at A. & M. College, the Southwestern
University at Georgetown, and at the University of Vir-
ginia. In 1881, when 18 years of age, he entered the
banking house of Giddings & Giddings, and has been con-
tinuously identified with this institution for 34 years. He
received his interest in the business in 1884 ; and since the
death of his father, in 1903, he has been the active head of
the banking house established in 1866 by J. D. and D. C.
Mr. Giddings fills many prominent positions in Bren-
ham, being president of the Brenham Compress Oil and
Manufacturing Company, which is a consolidation of the
D. C. GlDDlNGS
Brenham Oil Mills, the Brenham Electric Light Company
and the Brenham Ice and Cold Storage Company ; president
of the Brenham Compress Company, and president of the
South Texas Cotton Mills, Since 1905 he has been city
treasurer. Politically, Mr, Giddings is a staunch democrat,
and was, as long as he desired the honor, chairman of the
Washington County Democratic executive committee. In
1895 he was elected a representative to the 24th State
legislature. He is a charter member, and was the first
exalted ruler of Brenham Lodge No, 979, B, P. O. E.
As president of the bank of Giddings & Giddings, his
work requires in a constant degree the courage born of
clear thinking, and the capacity for rendering manifold
forms of human service. Great wealth carries with it
grave responsibilities ; and under his careful control this
business institution has grown beyond the most sanguine
hopes and wishes of its founders. It has passed safely
through every financial crisis, and for forty-nine years its
doors have never been closed. In addition to being a mon-
etary center, it is a bank of noble principles, where every
moral obligation is faithfully fulfilled,
D, C. Giddings and Miss Carrie Bassett were united in
marriage in Brenham in 1884, Mrs, Giddings' father,
William H. Bassett, was an extensive planter and successful
merchant of Evergreen, Louisiana. He was a bold and
daring Confederate soldier. Her mother, Mrs. Caroline
Bassett, was descended from a fine old Southern family.
Upon the death of her beloved companion she came to Texas,
and for many years this sweet and gentle Christian woman
was closely identified with the charitable and religious life
of Brenham. Mr. and Mrs. Giddings have three children,
Linda, who married E. P. Anderson ; D. C, Giddings, Jr,,
of the firm of Giddings & Giddings; and Carolyn, the wife
of John D. Rogers of Allen Farm.
D. C. Giddings is true to his illustrious ancestry; and no
one who views the tall, commanding figure can help being
impressed with the tranquillity, serenity and firmness of
the man, and the fact that he is of a race of men of superior
physical and mental endowments. He is true to the highest
ideals, and is governed by no customs, conventionalities,
or arbitrary man-made rules that are not based upon the
loftiest principles. Strong in purpose, shrewd in foresight,
of stout courage and independent spirit, he is a great factor
in every phase of life in Washington County, and is one
of the most prominent men in Texas. In the democratic
councils of the State his advice and opinions are always
sought, and are highly valued. He has steadily declined all
high political offices.
As a citizen he stands pre-eminent, encouraging and sup-
porting every public enterprise that in his sound judgment
is indicative of the advancement and betterment of Bren-
ham along moral, intellectual and financial lines. No sub-
scription lists of great moment, and few of any other kind,
are circulated without his name at the head. He never
speaks of his acts of charity, however; but many a dis-
tressed business man has been saved from bankruptcy, and
many a widow's mite has brought surprisingly large interest
through trust in him. Daily he sows the seeds of service
in the soil of human hearts, and he is reaping the joy of
living which this work imparts.
With him it's no great rarity
To lighten somebody's woes,
By little acts of charity
Of which nobody knows.
Princely deeds of kindness
He does every blessed day,
To help some souls in blindness
Groping along the way.
With him it's always understood.
That in every thought and deed.
He gives the service of brotherhood,
In the field of human need;
And when he lays his burdens down,
To go some other where,
There'll be stars in his bright crown.
Because he placed them there.
D. C. GIDDINGS, JR.
D. Clinton Giddings, Jr., is a member of the firm of Gid-
dings & Giddings, having been given a copartnership by
his father, D. C. Giddings, in 1913. No young man in the
State has a greater future before him, and to few have been
given greater opportunities for achieving success. Socially
he is quite popular; and in spite of his youth he wields a
strong influence in commercial circles. He is glad to live
because of the chance to work and play, to make people
happy, and to find the most beautiful things in the world.
While gazing at the mountain peaks, he smells the roses
blooming in the valleys, and there is ever the song of a
true manhood in his heart. He hates nothing save false-
hood and meanness, and he fears nothing but cowardice.
D. Clinton Giddings, Jr., will add largely to the estate
that will come to him by inheritance, and no doubt will be
as great a factor for good in Brenham as is his father,
D. C. Giddings ; and he will unquestionably give new lustre
to the already distinguished family name of Giddings.
D. C. GiDDiNGS, Jr.
CHAUNCY B., JAMES E. AND
Two brothers, C. B. and J. E. Shepard, were closely
identified with the legal practice in the early days of Texas.
These able practitioners were members of the Washington
County Bar when that organization proudly boasted a co-
terie of lawyers second to none in the State ; and, at a period
when the ethics of this old court circle demanded that a
lawyer should possess merit, personal honesty, fidelity and
integrity in the highest degree. Chauncy B., a brilliant
lawyer, came in 1840; and James E., an equitable judge
and brave Confederate lieutenant colonel, arrived in 1846.
JAMES E. SHEPARD.
James E. Shepard was born in Mathews County, Vir-
ginia, April 24, 1817. His father was Dr. Seth Shepard,
and his mother was Mary Fountain Williams. At the age
of 16 years young Shepard went to Lewis County, Ken-
tucky, lo make his home with Chauncy B. Shepard, a bach-
elor uncle. His legal education was acquired in the law
office of William R, Beatty, of Greenupsburg. In 1838 he
was admitted to the bar, graduating that same year from
the Cincinnati Law School, after which he entered the active
practice at Flemingsburg.
Stories of the marvelous resources of the new State of
Texas interested J. E. Shepard, and its great possibilities
attracted him, just as other pioneers were attracted, so he
came in November, 1846, and located in Brenham. He im-
mediately formed a copartnership with his brother, C. B.
Shepard, \vho had arrived five years before. His first
thought was the upbuilding of his adopted town, then
scarcely three years old, and no man gave more freely of
his time and talents to this worthy cause than did he.
On January 1, 1848, he purchased the lot upon which now
stands the Brenham High School, and this home, presided
over by his estimable wife, became the center of hospitality,
and many of the leading men of Texas were entertained
within its walls. Mr. and Mrs. Shepard were instrumental
in the establishment of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and
were charter members.
During his residence of twenty-eight years in Brenham,
J. E. Shepard was one of the most honorable and inlkrential
citizens. That he had the trust and confidence of the people
of Washington County was shown by the many public offices
which he filled. He was a member of the legislature of 1850
and served a subsequent term prior to the war. In 1861
he was a delegate of the secession convention. A fiery
Southerner in his views and sentiments, he very promptly
offered his services to the Confederacy, enlisting in the 16th
Regiment of Texas Infantry, being made lieutenant colonel.
This regiment fought in Arkansas and Louisiana; and,
while still at its head, he was elected, without his knowl-
edge, judge of the Third Judicial District, which honor
he accepted. He was re-elected to this responsible position
in 1866, but was removed in 1867 by the military powers
as an impediment to reconstruction.
As dean of the third law faculty, composed of J. E. Shep-
ard, R. T. Smith, John Sayles and B. H. Bassett, of Baylor
University, when that famous seat of learning was located
at Independence, J. E. Shepard gave instructions in the
rudiments and fundamental principles of law that were of
incalculable value to the students. His law office was always
open to these students, and to every young practitioner
at the bar, and he was never too preoccupied to encourage
and assist them.
In 1874, to the keenest regret of his friends in Brenham,
this prominent citizen and just judge removed to Austin,
where he continued his activities in the law profession,
and served as one of the commissioners of the State Peni-
tentiaries ; four years later retiring from active practice.
Judge Shepard had a State-wide reputation as a lawyer
of force, ability and rare learning, and he had the power
to convert this extensive knowledge of law into special
knowledge when the occasion demanded, for he was a mas-
ter of legal tactics, a skillful jury lawyer and an equitable
judge. His life was "distinguished for public service and
CHAUNCY B. SHEPARD.
The elder of these two brothers, C. B. Shepard, was born
in 1812 in Mathews County, Virginia. He was educated in
some of the best schools and colleges of the Old Dominion —
special attention being given to his training for the profes-
sion of law. At Louisville, Kentucky, August 10, 1842, he
was united in marriage to Mary Hester Andrews.
Conditions were extremely unsettled in 1840, when this
pioneer arrived in Washington County, and being a man of
great intelligence and courage, and a lawyer of outspoken
candor and honesty, he soon became the leader in many
public affairs. His opinions and advice aided in the adjust-
ment of important questions concerning governmental rule.
During the first year of his practice he attended court at
Washington, and when Mount Vernon became the county
seat, in 1841, he argued his cases before R. E. B. Baylor,
who was then the judge. Upon the removal of the county
seat of justice to Brenham in 1844, he established a per-
manent otfice here. Before the advent of his brother and
partner, James E. Shepard, he had built up an extensive
and lucrative practice, over a wide territory, numbering
prominent and influential citizens among his clients. Prior
to the war between the States he served several times in
the Texas senate, and his great ability and learning were
recognized in the number and importance of the commit-
tees of which he was chairman.
In connection with the work in town, C. B. Shepard super-
intended his big plantation eight miles west of Brenham.
He introduced improved agricultural methods, and had a
fondness for raising fine stock and thoroughbred horses.
His home was the rendezvous of people of culture and refine-
ment; and, people who were in need and distress were not
turned away empty handed, for he was liberal to a fault,
and charitable above all things.
As old age crept on, C. B. Shepard relinquished the law
and retired to his country home, where the declining years of
his long and useful life were sweetened with the knowledge
that he had the love and esteem of his fellow men. His
death occurred December 31, 1892. He was a man of fine
presence, gracious manners, generous impulses, and his
beautiful character summed up all that was idyllic in chiv-
alry, scholarly attainments and Christian fortitude.
Chief Justice Seth Shepard, of the District of Columbia,
the eldest son of Chauncy B. and Mary Hester Andrews
Shepard, was born April 23, 1847, on the -Shepard planta-
tion, eight miles west of Brenham. His elementary school-
ing was obtained under Rudolph Krug. a learned teacher,
who conducted a line school at Greenvine. In 1868 he was
graduated with the degree of LL. B. from Washington
College (now Washington and Lee University), and in 1895
was honored with the degree of LL. B. from the Georgetown
University at Washington. He began the practice of law
in 1869 at Brenham, subsequently moving to Galveston, and
later to Dallas.
In 1893 President Cleveland appointed Seth Shepard
associate justice of the Court of Appeals of the District of
Columbia, and he remained as one of the associates until
January 5, 1905, when President Roosevelt advanced him
to his present position of chief justice. Since 1895 he has
been lecturer on constitutional law, equity, jurisprudence,
and law of corporations at the Georgetown University.
At the early age of 17 years Judge Shepard entered the
Confederate army, enlisting in Company F, 5th Texas
Mounted Volunteers, his services dating from July, 1864.
Although a mere youth, his record for bravery was unsur-
passed by that of older soldiers.
In 1874 he was a member of the Texas senate. Beginning
with 1883 he served eight years as a member of the board
of regents of the University of Texas, then in its infancy.
His wise counsel at this period in the early life of the
University is largely responsible for its present usefulness.
He was one of the builders of the solid foundation that is
now upholding this splendid temple of learning erected by
the people of Texas.
Texas history has ever interested this loyal Texan. He
is an author of note. The graphic and interesting story
of "The Alamo," in the Comprehensive History of Texas,
was written by him. To Judge Shepard the State owes a
lasting debt of gratitude for having found the original man-
uscript of the Declaration of Texas Independence, which
was lost for more than sixty years. He discovered it in
the archives of the State Department at Washington, D. C,
and returned it June 11, 1895, to the Lone Star State. The
famous document bears the following indorsement: "Left
at the Department of State, May 28, 1836, by Mr. Wharton.
Judge Shepard has membership in many prominent or-
ganizations, among the number being the American Bar
Association, Sons of American Revolution, the Mayflower
Society, United Confederate Veterans, and Southern His-
tory Association. He is a Fellow in the State Historical
Association, and is president of the Southern Educational
Judge Shepard requiring a broader law field for the
development of his talents than that afforded by the small
city of Brenham, moved away many years ago. He was
popular and commanded the inviolable esteem of every cit-
izen of the county, and his going was the source of deepest
regret. His brilliant career has been viewed with pride and
gratification by his old friends, and the memory of the dis-
tinguished man is held in affectionate regard yet, and Wash-
ington County still claims him as one of her favorite sons.
W. W. SEARCY
One of Brenham's chief claims to recognition in the his-
tory of Texas is furnished by its eminent lawyers. The list
extending through more than seventy-one years is a long
and illustrious one of men of great mental endowment and
legal equipment. Some of them have lived on surrounding
farms, and some have resided in the city, but each one has
practiced in Brenham. The different epochs include names
like these : J. D. Giddings. W. H. Ewing, Asa M. Lewis, J. &
A. H. Willie, W. H. Higgins, John Sayles, W. Y. McFarland,
Joe Crosby, G. W. Horton, Barrv Gillespie, B. E. Tarver, W.
P. Rogers, J. E. & C. B. Shepard, R. E. B. Baylor (lived near
Gay Hill but spent much of his time in Brenham), of the
first period ; D. C. Giddings, T. W. Norriss, J. T. & P. H.
Swearingen, E. F. Ewing, C. R. Breedlove, B. H. Bassett,
Jefferson Bassett, B. H. Davis and Isham G. Searcy of the
second period ; Seth Shepard, T. B. Botts, C. C. Garrett,
Goss, Dan Mclntyre, L. R. & Beauregard Brvan. J. C. & E. B.
Muse, 0. L. Eddins, H. E. Williams, W. P. Ewing, W. W.
Searcy and W. B. Garrett of the third period. The last period
and those of the present day are J. D. Campbell (now of
Beaumont), R. E. Pennington, J. P. Buchanan, J. M. Mathis,
H. 0. Schulz (now of Rosenberg), W. R. Ewing, L. E. Ras-
berry, T. B. Botts, Albert Stone, W. H. Bassett and W. J.
Connecting the past with the present stands the life of
W. W. Searcy, a living example of the courtly gentleman of
the old school who helped the courts dispense speedy and
substantial justice to the citizens without embarrassment,
delay or chicaneiy. He is dean of the legal practitioners at
the Brenham bar, and one of the most prominent lawyers in
Texas. He was bom August 1, 1855, in Lavaca (jounty,
Texas. His parents were Albert Wynne Searcy and Mary
Louise Searcy, descendants from distinguished ancestors.
His father was a brave and gallant soldier who gave his life
to the cause of the Confederacy. His beloved mother faced
the loss of her cherished companion with Christian fortitude
and devoted her life to rearing their children.
The early part of Mr. Searcy's life was spent at Halletts-
ville; and he was educated at the Military Institute in Aus-
tin, Texas. Later he went to Lebanon. Tennessee, where
he was graduated with high honors in the law department
W. W. Searcy
of Cumberland University. In January, 1877, he settled
in Brenham, and since that time has been closely identified
with the legal profession not only in the city of his adop-
tion, but in the Lone Star State.
Close application to his law practice has caused Mr. Searcy
to decline many offers of political preferment. Occasionally,
however, when his patriotism has been touched, and he has
seen where he could advance the best interests of Brenham
and Washington County, he has accepted positions of public
trust. He was elected, at the solicitation of many friends,
chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee in 1880,
and for twelve years discharged the duties of the office
faithfully and well. An uncompromising advocate of the
principles and policies of the Democratic party, he was an
active and influential factor in all local councils; and dur-
ing his administration the political situation in the county
became thoroughly democratic. He was city attorney for
six years, from 1880 to 1886. and gave legal advice backed
by sound judgment, which resulted in the adoption of or-
dinances that improved conditions in various ways. In 1892
he was elected to the State Senate, where his great ability
as a law maker, and his extensive knowledge of the law
made him the peer of his colleagues.
The State Bar Association, established a few years ago,
is composed of some of the leading minds of Texas. This or-
ganization of brilliant lawyers paid tribute to Mr. Searcy by
selecting him as president. He presided at the meeting held
in Dallas in June, 1914, and delivered an eloquent address in
which he gave an exhaustive analysis of the laws passed by
the last Legislature, and outlined plans for obtaining much-
needed reforms in the statutes of Texas. This speech was
highly complimented by the Association and by the public-
For many years this talented lawyer served as a very
valuable member of the board of trustees of the Brenham
public schools. He encourages education among the masses,
and is a strong believer in modern methods. It was largely
through his efforts that the Brenham High School and the
Alamo buildings were erected. The high esteem in which
he is held by the children of the school is evidenced by the
fact that the Junior grade selected him as sponsor. He
is actively interested in the work that is going fonvard at
Blinn Memorial College; and, when Brenham was confronted
with the serious question of the removal of this educational
institution, no man labored more diligently or successfully
to meet the requirements of the College officials than did
Mr. Searcy. His time, professional services and money,
were given freely and cheerfully to this worthy cause.
Few men have striven more earnestly for the building- of
Brenham along business, educational and religious lines than
has Mr. Searcy. He is charitable, too, but his right hand
rarely ever knows what his left hand does. He is given the
lead in many public enterprises where a man of unusual
ability is needed, or where a magnetic and eloquent speaker
is required. His clientage has become extremely large ; and
he is now in the enjoyment of all that the profession can
give in reputation and emolument. In nearly every im-
portant case that has been tried in Brenham for the past
37 years he has been an able and wise counsellor on either
one side or the other. Among the leading cases in which
he has been a conspicuous figure may be cited :
Simon vs. Middleton, et al. ; Rankin vs. Rankin; Gid-
dings vs. Fischer; Seale vs. G. C. & S. F. Ry. Co.; Harlow
vs. Hudgins; Swearingen, et als., vs. Bassett; Johnson &
Co. vs. Heidenheimer; Simon vs. Fisher; Robertson, et al.,
vs. Breedlove; Evansich vs. G. C. & S. F. Ry. Co.; Ewing
vs. Teague, et al. ; Washington County vs. Schulz ; Mikeska
vs. L. & H. Blum; Trustees of Union Baptist Association
The law is an exalted profession. To be a good lawyer
requires brains, a strict sense of justice and a kind heart.
This trinity of virtues is responsible for the eminent success
that has attended the practice of W. W. Searcy of Bren-
ham. To his great credit be it said he is a Christian, an
elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that he has always
lived a life above reproach. He believes and says :
This world's a beautiful place to live in,
And tliere is no use of ever being sad,
Oh, it is a wonderful place to give in,
And in giving make somebody glad.
Give freely of your heart's best thought,
When judging of your fellow men.
True merit may be found if sought,
In spite of defects now and then.
Learn to look for good in all that you see.
And forget the troubles you have had.
Most folks are just as good as they can be,
And none are ever wholly bad.
The Master said, "Love ye one another,"
On the journey down life's way,
And to help a sad and fallen brother,
And cheer him kindly day by day.
Keep busy with life's beautiful things,
And watch the beauty in the rose,
And forget the thorn that hurts and stings.
On the sweetest flower that grows.
Give thanks each day for this beautiful place.
And meet your fate with a sunny smile.
So when you see the Savior face to face,
He'll know you lived a life worth while.
T. A. LOW
Theodore Augustus Low was born near Concord, Ten-
nessee, May 20, 1849, and was the son of General Sam D.
W. Low and Amanda Matlock Low, both of whom were born
in the Commonwealth. Samuel D. W. Low was a farmer
and a general in the Tennessee State Militia.
Mr. Lovv was associated with farm life until the age
of 21, in the meantime attending school, and later becoming
a student in the Ewing and Jefferson college of Blount Coun-
ty, Tennessee. He arrived in Austin, Texas, in 1871, but
after six months came to Brenham, Texas, embarking in
the machinery and implement business. In 1876 he formed
a co-partnership with W. A. Wood in the lumber and farm
machinery business, the relationship continuing until 1887.
Two years later Mr. Low again entered into the lumber
business, this time with Rudolph Stuckert, and this firm
was succeeded by T. A. Low & Sons. Mr. Low's two estim-
able sons had attained their majority, and he began to teach
them the principles of commercialism which he so well
understood. In 1904, having been elected president of the
First National Bank, Mr. Low turned the full control of the
lumber yards to his sons, S. D. W. Low and T. A. Low, Jr.
T. A. Low was united in marriage in 1873 to Cecelia
T, Baine, daughter of Moses Baine, w^ho came to Texas in
1833. Three children were born of this union, S. D. W. Low,
T. A. Low, Jr., and Mrs. William Morriss, all of whom re-
side in Brenham. This good man entered into everlasting
rest in 1911.
This statement of facts gives but little idea of the im-
portant part Mr. Low took in the commercial, political and
religious life of Brenham and of Washington County. As
a business man he possessed the executive ability and power
as an organizer that are chief factors in success. As a citi-
zen and social unit his charity embraced all who were
worthy, and his popularity made his loss felt beyond the
circles of his own family and associates. He was too
young to join the Confederate army, but most of his rela-
tives participated. In his youth the stories told of the valor
of those who wore the gray perpetuated in his soul a desire
to honor and revere the illustrious dead. When the question
came up at the Houston Convention of the United Daugh-
ters of the Confederacy, to have the anniv^ersary of the birth
T. A. Low
of Jefferson Davis observed in Texas, Mr. Low was deeply
impressed with the idea. Upon the return of Mrs. James
B. Williams, president of Brenham Tom Green Chapter, of
Brenham, from the Houston conclave, he, at her sugges-
tion, took up the noble work of having Texas pass a law
setting aside June 3rd forever as a legal holiday in memory
At this period of time Mr. Low was a distinguished
member of the Legislature. Guided by his earnest wish to
honor the first and last president of the United Confed-
eracy of the Southern States, Mr. Low, on January 18. 1905,
introduced house bill No. 91, page 92, of the House Journal
of the 29th Legislature entitled, "An act to amend Article
2939, of the Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas,
relating to legal holidays, and amending the statutes so as
to make June 3rd a State holiday in honor of Jefferson
Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, the
same being the anniversary of his birth." This bill was
read three times and passed the House of Representatives
and the Senate, and was approved February 9, 1905. and
became a law 90 days after the adjournment of the 29th
Thus did ore influential and estimable man honor the
immortal Davis, and perpetuate the life story of the South's
great chieftain, in whom intellectual and moral worth strug-
gled for supremacy, and who has had but few peers upon
the face of the earth.
Brenham Tom Green Chapter. U. D. C, claims at least
a part of the credit for it was at the request of its capable
and efficient president, Mrs. J. B. Williams, that Mr. Low
had the bill passed making June 3rd a legal holiday. And
eveiy year when time brings June 3rd, the people will ob-
serve the anniversary of the birth of the great Davis; and
they will honor, too, the memory of the good and lovable
man, T. A. Low, who had June 3rd made a legal holiday in
Patriotism ever finds an abiding place in the human
breast, and man naturally loves his fellow men. for
"All that hath been majestical
In life or death, since time began.
Is native in the simplest heart of all.
The angel-heart of man."
SAM D. W. LOW
Sam D. W. Low, the worthy son of his patriotic father,
T. A. Low, was born in Brenham, in 1874. He was educated
in the public schools and at Daniel Baker College, Brown-
When scarcely twenty years of age he was given a co-
partnership in the lumber business of his father, the firm
being styled T. A. Low & Sons. In addition to the duties
at the lumber yard he superintended the farming, and took
care of the stock on the farm. These avocations were pur-
sued without interruption until the death of T. A. Low and
the sale of the lumber yard. Since that time he and his
brother, T. A. Low, have established lumber yards in some
of the surrounding towns. Mr. Low is also actively engaged
in farming and raising registered Jerseys. His influence
is felt in commercial circles ; and he is ever on the alert to
find improved agricultural methods for the country, and to
aid in civic betterment for the city.
Political affairs have interested Mr. Low since he was
sixteen years of age ; and, as a private citizen and as county
and precinct chairman, he has been zealous in the pursuit
of measures that had for their end the advancement and
improvement of the democratic party. He declined all offices
until his friends, without his solicitation, secured his elec-
tion to fill the unexpired term of J. P. Buchanan in the
33rd Legislature. It was an exceedingly fortunate occur-
rence for Washington County, for Mr. Low, in connection
with various duties, introduced and had passed a piece of
legislation that writes forever his name on patriotism's
honor roll, and gives recognition to the important place that
old Washington on the Brazos fills in the history of the
Lone Star State.
Beginning in 1845 with the first legislature, and ending
with the present time, there have been senators and repre-
sentatives of marked ability and unquestioned patriotism;
but it remained for Sam D. W. Low, of the 34th Legislature,
to honor the spot where liberty was declared, the Republic
of Texas was born, and the place where the great Republic
died. This patriotic work was accomplished when he had
bill No. 643 passed, known as State Park Bill for Wash-
ington County at Old Washington on the Brazos, which
Sam I). \V. Low
provided for an appropriation of $10,000 for the establish-
ment and maintenance of ''Washington Park."
In view of the fact that the people, not only in Washing-
. ton County, but all over Texas, are co-equal in the ownership
of this public park, the story of how it was obtained will
probably be of interest. So a review of the circumstances
leading up to the purchase of the park is given.
When E. W. Tarrant was superintendent of the Brenham
Public Schools he suggested to the school children of Wash-
ington County that a monument be erected at Washington,
on the spot where was signed the Texas Declaration of
Independence. Time had dealt unkindly with the ancient
town, and every vestige of Elder N. T. Byars' blacksmith
shop, in which this famous document was signed, had dis-
appeared ; however, after some difficulty, the exact spot was
located, and the 13 foot 9 inch stone was placed by the
children July 4, 1899. The inscriptions on the gray shaft
of Texas granite are, on the west surface, "On this spot
was made the Declaration of Texas Independence"; east,
"Erected by the school children of Washington County,
July 4, 1899" ; south, "The necessity of self-preservation,
therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation";
north, "Here a Nation was Born." The unveiling was
delayed by heavy rains, and did not take place until April
21, 1900, when Mollie White Harrison removed the Lone
Star flag, and Frank H. Dever accepted the monument.
These two children were students of the Brenham High
School. This monument was placed on private property.
On April 14, 1914, the Young Men's Business Association,
of which Frank Eberle was the secretary, passed resolu-
tions asking that the legislature appropriate sufficient funds
for the establishment and maintenance of a State Park at
Washington, to perpetuate the series of historical facts
that cluster around the old town. W. D. Notley, who suc-
ceeded Frank Eberle as secretary of the Y. M. B. A., gave
material aid in this work. The history of Washington was
published in the Galveston News, March 3, 1915.
Mr. Low offered the Washington Park Bill in the 34th
Legislature for the first time on March 6, 1915, and it failed
of passage for lack of time. At the extra session, called
April 29, 1915, Mr. Low again submitted the bill. Gov-
ernor James E. Ferguson sent the following beautiful and
patriotic message to the legislature:
"Austin, Texas, May 5, 1915.
"During this special session I shall assume the initiative
in recommending for your consideration and passage various
and sundry measures, having for their purpose the mate-
rial and cultural advancement of our State.
"I want especially to ask this legislature to assist in this
latter regard by providing for the purchase and improve-
ment of certain lands in W'ashington County, on which was
located the first capitol of Texas, and which is now marked
by a shaft of stone, thoughtfully erected by the school chil-
dren of that section, in 1900.
"Time lays as destructive a hand upon that which is
historic as upon that which is uninteresting; and we, as
patriotic Texans, should save to posterity the beauty and
glory of this memorable spot, where first the birth of a new
nation was announced to the world — where met the last
Congress, that terminated the Lone Star Republic, and
merged it into the sisterhood of these United States.
"I admonish you, therefore, as legislative representatives
of this great Commonwealth, to do that which is necessary
and practicable to preserve and beautify this hallowed
ground, this altar of Texas independence, where citizen and
alien may gather in the years to come, and from the white
dust of travel find rest and recreation in the contemplative
shade of this shrine of Texas liberty.
"James E. Ferguson, Governor of Texas."
Washington Park Bill No. 646 was duly passed by the
House of Representatives and signed May 19, 1915, by the
speaker, Hon. John W. Woods. Washington Park Bill No.
11 was submitted to the Senate by Paul D. Page of Bastrop.
It was adopted May 18, and the day following Lieutenant
Governor W. P. Hobby attached his signature. On May
20, 1915, Governor Ferguson approved the measure "with
personal pride and satisfaction."
The historic facts warranting this tribute to Washington
on the Brazos are related in the appended story.
WASHINGTON ON THE BRAZOS
"There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries."
And there are opportunities in the lives of towns which, if
grasped, lead to the development of cities of great religious,
educational and commercial importance. Washington on
the Brazos, one of the biggest and most prominent places
in Texas during the middle of the last century, is an example
of a town that sat idly while its chances passed by. Nature
intended that this spot should be a great business center,
for she endowed it with many advantages. It is situated
on high bluffs, at the junction of two rivers, and is a place
of marvelous natural beauty. It is now deserted and almost
forgotten ; yet it is one of the most historic spots in all
Texas, for it was here that the patriot fathers, in the pres-
ence of danger and disaster, signed the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, and the Lone Star, of the Republic arose on the
horizon of nations. The Star of Liberty is shining brightly
still ; but only the hallowed memories are left to mark the
place of its birth.
Many facts clustering around this ancient and deserted
town are of great importance to the students of history.
In addition to being the birthplace of independence, the
constitution of the Republic of Texas was framed and
adopted at Washington; it was twice the capital of the
Republic — the first and last capital. The first president,
David G. Burnet, was elected there; and he and the last
president, Anson Jones, were both inaugurated at this inter-
esting old place. Washington was also the seat of the gov-
ernment ad interim. While the Mexican invasion of 1842
was in progress the capital was removed from Austin to
Washington ; and, with the exception of the session of Con-
gress held in Houston in the fall of 1842, Washington
remained the capital until the end of the Republic in 1845.
The old town is in reality the cradle and the tomb of the
Republic of Texas.
Stephen F. Austin's first colonists arrived on the Brazos
at its junction with the Navasota River, late in December,
1821, and were the first settlers in this section ; and they
were farmers. The first colonist who came to the west
side of the Brazos was William Dever. Andrew Robinson
and his son-in-law, John VV. Hall, settled on the west side
of the Brazos, opposite the mouth of the Navasota River,
and on the site of Washington. Robinson built the ferry
boat in 1822 which carried so many famous men and women,
and only succumbed to decay in 1882. In 1824 Austin and
Baron de Bastrop gave Robinson a formal conveyance of
a league of land as a colony, the grant including his ferry
and the land on which the town of Washington is situated.
Robinson gave 640 acres of this land to Hall and his wife
Patsy. Hall's greatest ambition was to build a town ; and
in 1833 he had the site surveyed and platted and named
"Washington," by Dr. Asa Hoxie, after Washington,
Wilkes County, Georgia. The following year Hall pur-
chased the remainder of Robinson's land for $1,000.00 and
set the pace in land deals for future generations by organ-
izing the "Washington Town Company," composed of him-
self. Dr. Asa Hoxie, Thomas Gay and Miller and Somervell.
Much enterprise was used in exploiting the advantages of
Washington over its rival, San P^elipe ; and Hall's dream
of building a town came true, for in a short period of time
22 lots were sold for $1,902.35 ; and from these sales may
be dated the growth of the place. The navigation of the
r.razos River, which began in 1833, advanced the commer-
cial interests very materially.
Unsuccessful efforts were made to have the general con-
sultation of 1835 meet in Washington, but when the con-
sultation adjourned at San Felipe, it fixed Washington as
the place of holding the convention which drew up the
declaration of independence and the constitution of the
Republic of Texas. The delegates met promptly on the
first day of March, 1836, all of them coming on horseback,
and many riding from great distances. These men were
of the most conscientious and honorable type. Most of
them were refined, well educated, and prepossessing in
appearance and speech. The youthful town then contained
only one house large enough to accommodate this body of
distinguished men — a two-story blacksmith shop, about 25
by 50 feet, which was built and owned by Elder N. T.
Byars of the Baptist Church, and located a short distance
from the ferry, on what was known as Main street; a
structure framed and weather-boarded with clap-boards,
with wooden shutters and a double door for the front en-
trance. Richard Ellis was made president, and H. S. Kim-
ble secretary of the convention. The declaration was wnt-
ten by George C. Childress, and followed closely Jefferson's
learned document of 1776. On motion of Sam Houston, it
was adopted, and on March 2, 1836, at four o'clock in the
afternoon, the delegates signed it, thereby solemnly de-
claring the political connection of Texas and Mexico forever
ended ; and as representatives of the pioneer colonists, they
constituted Texas a free, sovereign and independent Re-
public, fully vested with all the rights and privileges which
properly belong to independent nations. The next work of
the convention was the framing of a constitution to be
adopted by the people, and the election and installation of
the following officers : David G. Burnet, president ; Lorenzo
De Zavala, vice president; Sam Houston, commander-in-
chief of the army. The men who composed President Bur-
net's cabinet were Samuel P. Carson, secretary of state;
Bailey Hardeman, secretary of the treasury ; Thomas J.
Rusk, secretary of war; Robert Potter, secretary of the
navy, and David Thomas, attorney general.
The day of the installation, March 17th, a courier arrived
from Sam Houston bearing bad news. As the convention
was ready to adjourn some alarmists rode through the Main
street at full speed shouting in stentorian tones, "Santa
Anna and the whole Mexican army are within a few miles,
and rapidly advancing on the town ; flee for your lives !"
These men were evidently thieves, whose purpose was to
frighten the people away and then rob their homes ; but the
effect was disastrous. The panic became general. Every
man, woman and child who could obtain an animal or vehicle
of any kind joined the procession that hurriedly moved
eastward across the Brazos River, carrying luggage of every
description. The cows lowed restlessly, the horses neighed
and sniffed the air, and the very dogs tucked their tails
and whined as if in realization of the danger which threat-
ened the country. It is said that every citizen fled, save
one Jesse Lott, who kept the tavern. This was the most
hopeless time in the early history of Washington.
Confusion was created in the convention hall, and the
delegates left hastily, without a formal adjournment. In
the excitement the original manuscript of the declaration
of independence was lost, but was found by Chief Justice
Seth Shepard, formerly of Washington County, in the
archives of the state department at Washington City, and
by him returned to Texas, June 11, 1896, when Culberson
was governor. The famous document is endorsed as fol-
lows : "Left at the Department of State, May 28, 1836, by
Mr. Wharton. Original." It was in this year that Col.
Wharton was sent to Washington for the purpose of nego-
tiating the recognition of Texas independence.
Fortunately, Washington did not long remain in the
chaotic condition in which it was left by the "stampede,"
for the people gradually returned ; and with the fall of
Santa Anna's army at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, confi-
dence was quickly restored, and it came into prominence
again as a candidate for the capital in 1837. The first
anniversary celebration of the signing of the declaration
of independence was given at Washington, and took the
form of a ball, in the convention hall. Invitations to this
affair, some of which are still extant, read : "Washington,
28th of February, 1837. The pleasure of your company is
respectfully solicited at a party to be given in Washington
on Thursday, March 2nd, to celebrate the birthday of our
national independence. Devereau J. Woodlief, Thos. Gay,
R. Stevenson, W. B. Scates, Asa Hoxey, James B. Cook,
W. W. Hill, J. C. Hunt, Thos. P. Shapard, Managers."
People came from great distances to this entertainment.
The blacksmith shop was illuminated with sperm candles,
and the music was supplied by a few stringed instruments,
to which the merry company danced the Virginia reel,
knocked the back-step, or cut the pigeon-wing, just as they
In 1842, when Washington became the capital for the
second time, many people of note lived within its confines.
Sam Houston and his family were residents for a short
while ; and Anson Jones lived a few miles out in the country
at "Barrington." Nearly every prominent man in Texas
came to Washington during this period. Religiously, edu-
cationally, socially and commercially it forged rapidly to the
front. A great volume of business was transacted, and
brick buildings, some of them three stories high, were
erected. Mrs. Jack Hall taught, in 1837, the first school.
In 1839 Judge W. H. Ewing opened a school in a double
log house. Rev. L. P. Rucker, of the Episcopal Church, in
1841 established an academy in a beautiful post oak grove
in the western part of the town. This school was under
the control of the Masons, and was known all over Texas as
an excellent educational institution.
The newspapers were creditable to the craft, as evi-
denced by copies still in existence. In 1839 Rev. A. Buf-
fington began the publication of "The Tarantula," the first
newspaper; which was followed in different years by the
"Texas and Brazos Farmer," by G. Harrison ; the "National
Vindicator," by Ramrod Johnson ; "The National Register,"
by Miller and Cushney. In 1845 Judge William H. Ewing
commenced the editions of "The Lone Star and Southern
Watchman." The "Texas Ranger" was published in 1847.
The "Washington American" was edited by W. J. Pen-
dleton in 1852. D. H. Rankin published "The Southern
Watch Tower," which he moved to Brenham in 1853, and
re-christened "The Brenham Enquirer."
The religious development of Washington had its begin-
ning on January 3, 1837, when Z. N. Morrell of the Bap-
tist denomination preached the first sermon, after which
he organized a church with eight members. The American
Baptist Home Mission Society of New York sent William
Melton Tryon to Washington, and he and Judge R. E. B.
Baylor held one of the most remarkable revivals ever given
in this or any other town. The meetings occurred in the
convention hall; and Tryon's silver-tongued oratory and
Baylor's great persuasive powers so impressed the congre-
gations that nearly everybody was converted, and there
were only two or three people who failed to join the church.
The candidates for baptism were immersed in the Brazos.
Tryon was chaplain of the Texas Congress during its ses-
sions at Washington. Robert Alexander, the first mission-
ary from the Methodist Episcopal Church, came about this
time. Rev. Roach and Rev. Andrew McGowan, Cumberland
Presbyterians, arrived too. Dr. Martin Ruter, the learned
educator and minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
died in his 54th year. May 16, 1838, and was buried in the
old graveyard at Washington. On his grave a white marble
slab, three feet wide and six feet long, bore this inscription :
"Thirty-seven years an itinerant minister of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and Superintendent of the First Mission
of the Church in the Republic of Texas." Rev. W. Y.
Allen was the first minister to establish the Presbyterian
Church. To Rev. L. P. Rucker m.ust be given the credit
for the greatest success in rearing up the pioneer Episcopal
Churches. Thrilling encounters were had by these brave
and noble soldiers of the Cross in the fight between religious
influences and the usual vices incident to a new settlement.
Under the auspices of the Sons of Temperance, a great
temperance demonstration occurred in 1849, and the crowd
of people who came from all over Texas was estimated at
2,500 to 10,000 men, women and children. There were gov-
ernors, senators, congressmen, judges, lawyers and other
professional men, who participated in the exercises. This
convention easily exceeded any gathering ever held before
in the State; and the program was formulated to advance
the interests of the cause of temperance. Miss Georgia
Jenkins, who afterwards became the wife of Dr. Rufus C.
Burleson, presented a silken banner to the State organiza-
tion of the Sons of Temperance, and Dr. Burleson received it.
Navigation of the Brazos River was commenced in 1833.
Hugh Kerr, of Washington County, says in his "Poetical
Description of Texas," published in 1838 :
From Galveston as west we tend,
The River Urassos conies in view;
Close to the Gulf it does extend,
There is no bay to enter through.
A vessel passing in from sea
Should not adventure, if her draft
Exceed six feet, and swell there be,
Across the bar she may not waft.
But when the bar is pass'd indeed.
No other danger then to fear;
Thence fifty miles she may proceed
In any season of the year.
At certain times small steamboats may
One hundred miles still further go,
At sundry towns touch on the way,
Fieight and passengers to and fro.
The names of towns upon its banks
We here insert, though none are large;
Velasco as a seaport ranks,
Quintana, warehouse for discharge.
One hundred miles above, presum'd,
Old Sanfelipe or Austin stood.
Some forty miles above or more.
We find the town of Washington;
And higher up was heretofore,
Tenoxtitlan, — old garrison.
This river borders on each side
Exceeding rich and fertile land.
With heavy timbers, prairies wide,
And many farms on either hand.
The Brassos' source is far above,
Not yet explor'd through its extent,
But Texas enterprise will prove
Equal to its accomplishment.
River traffic assumed business importance about 1842.
which year witnessed the appearance of the stern wheeler,
"Mustang." Some dozen steamboats were put regularly
on the river, and it was no uncommon sight to see as many
as three boat, all being docked at the large wharves at
Washington. The two side wheelers, "Brazos" and "Wash-
ington," were put in commission during the late '40s. The
finest boat that ever sailed the river was the "Fort Henry."
Thousands of bales of cotton and much produce were
shipped to Velasco and Quintana, and many passengers
made trips back and forth. River traffic improved with a
rapidity unparalleled from 1844 to 1854, but from about
the 12th of May, 1854, when the Brazos was so full that
one of the boats ran clear out of the banks of the river into
a large plantation, and there remained, navigation practi-
cally ceased. By common consent the people concluded that
their only hope was in railroads, and railroads alone.
According to the records in Austin, Washington County
was organized December 14, 1837. The first county seat
was Washington, which afterwards became a great polit-
ical center; and the first county officers under the Re-
public were: John P. Coles, chief justice; R. Stevenson,
clerk; J. P. Sheppard, clerk of the district court; and R.
Merritt, clerk of the county court. Washington continued
to be the county seat until the fall of 1841, when the records
were removed to Mount Vernon. In 1844 Brenham was
elected the county seat.
The majority of the citizens of Texas favored annexation,
and at a mass meeting held in Washington in the spring
of 1845, strong resolutions were passed urging President
Jones to convene Congress. Pursuant to his proclamation,
the Congress of the Republic of Texas met, June 16, 1845,
for the last time, at Washington. Both houses unanimously
consented to the Joint Resolution of the United States.
Thus it will be seen that old Washington witnessed the
assembling of the convention which made the Declaration
of Independence, and the last session of the Congress which
terminated the Lone Star of the Republic, and added Texas
to the United States of America.
At the close of the '40s and in the early '50s this almost
extinct town reached the zenith of its glory, and attained
its greatest commercial importance. With a population of
over 1,500 souls it was one among the larger towns in Texas.
The fine water facilities made it a distributing point for
Middle Texas. The old place was prospering and building on
safe and sure lines, until 1858, when it made the fatal mis-
take of refusing to give a bonus of $11,000.00 to the Hous-
ton & Texas Central Railroad. The railroad officials then
abandoned the route which had been surveyed through the
Brazos bottom, and i)uilt the road to Navasota. There were
only two or three people in Washington who favored the
advent of the railroad. A majority of the citizens claimed
that it would interfere seriously with their river navigation
and trade. One man, with wisdom beyond his fellow towns-
men, pleaded with them to raise the bonus. He walked
the streets entreating the inhabitants to accede to the de-
mands of the railroad officials. Finally, seeing how utterly
futile his efforts were, he cursed the town, and in his wrath
prayed that he might live to see the day when the site. of
Washington would be planted in cotton. This prayer has
been very nearly granted, for today there is nothing left
but a few old buildings fast tottering to the end, and one
store, which supplies the wants of the adjacent farmers.
Around the once i)rou(l old town are farms, but the site is
so thickly studded with brick foundations, old cisterns and
the debris of what was once a commercial center, that it is
impossible to plow or cultivate it. Weesache grows in every
nook and corner; nothing remains but the shadowy mem-
ories of a haunted past, and a shaft of gray Texas granite
erected at the suggestion of Superintendent E. W. Tarrant
by the school children of Washington County in 1900, April
21st, to tell that '*Here a nation was born."
Down where the Brazos sings a low, sweet song.
Of the glory of the vanished years
When W'ashington was once so great and strong
And faced the future with no fears,
There stands a monument of granite gray
To mark a spot of hallowed earth.
And tell of Texas Independence Day
When a nation had its glorious birth.
It's no cloud-capped, lofty, towering spire,
But just a shaft of modest gray.
Erected there by the children's great desire
To commemorate the liberty day.
It marks the tomb of a nation that is dead;
For the Texas Republic is no more.
And her heroes their silent tents have spread,
With all the hosts long gone before.
Sad desolation reigns around this spot,
Twice the capital of a nation;
Its glorious story ne'er will be forgot.
For it is of brave men of every station.
Straight stands the shaft, while Time unrolls her scroll —
And all alone; for everything has gone;
There's nothing left but Fame's bright honor roll.
And the shaft, to tell a nation was born.
On its way to the Gulf the Brazos River goes.
In spring and summer, winter and fall;
Around its banks so high the weesache grows,
And hoary oaks stand grim and tall,
While the monument keeps watch by night and day.
O'er the lonely place where memories tread;
And e'er the river sings along its way,
A requiem for the town that is dead.
SOME EARLY GERMAN SETTLERS
OF WASHINGTON COUNTY
AND THEIR DESCENDANTS
Of the peoples who came from across the water none have
done more to build up the interests, or advance the commer-
cial and agricultural importance of Texas, than have the
honest, industrious and God-fearing Germans, who left their
beloved Fatherland to enjoy the freedom of thought and in-
dependence of action that is the blessed privilege of every
citizen of the United States.
A great many Germans have, from time to time, settled
in Washington County, and a great many have spread from
Washington County to the northward and to the westward.
The population of the county at the present day is composed
largely of Germans; and some of the descendants of the
original settlers are living within its confines. They have
ever been citizens to aid in the development of farming in-
terests and in the improvement of business conditions, and
especially have they given assistance in religious, educa-
tional and musical activities. The fires of patriotism, en-
kindled in the old country, have burned brightly in their
souls ; and some of the "bravest of the brave" soldiers who
wore the Confederate gray were the Germans who enlisted
from this county.
Charles F. Fordtran and Friedrich Ernst, while not the
first Germans to come to Texas, were the first permanent
settlers. Fordtran, who was born May 7, 1801, was from
Minden, Westphalia, and Ernst was from Varel, Oldenburg;
after leaving Germany they met in New York. On April
3, 1831, they arrived at Harrisburg on the Mexican schooner
"Saltillo," commanded by Captain Huskin. From Harris-
burg they went to San Felipe, where they stayed several
weeks, endeavoring to secure land grants. Ernst selected
a league of land where the town of Industry, Austin County,
now stands, one-fourth of which he gave to Fordtran. Sam-
uel M. Williams gave Fordtran a league of land in this same
vicinity as compensation for surveying two leagues. On
July 4, 1833, Charles F. Fordtran married Almeida Brook-
field, who was born in Detroit, Michigan. The death of
this Texas veteran occurred at Industry, November 1, 1900,
when he was nearly 100 years of age. Both he and his wife
are buried in Prairie Lea cemetery at Brenham.
The first German to locate permanently in Washington
County was Henry Eichholt, the father of Louis and Wil-
liam Eichholt of Cedar Hill. The place of his nativity was
Brocken, near Berlin. He arrived at Washington in the
spring of 1846, with just fifty cents in his pocket. Unable
to speak English, and in a strange country where no one
spoke his native tongue, the inflexible will of the poor Ger-
man boy was undaunted, and with the determination to
overcome obstacles that has ever marked the Teutonic race,
he bravely set out to find work. In his heart there was the
love and fear of God, for he was a Christian. His first work
was that of driving an ox team, and cutting hay. He after-
wards engaged in farming. In 1847 he was united in mar-
riage to Louise Roehling, who came with her parents, Mr.
and Mrs. H. Roehling, that year from Germany. Upon a
farm of 200 acres, bought on the installment plan, near
where William Penn is now located, they built a two-room
cabin of cedar logs, with stick-and-mud chimney and dirt
fioor, that was comfortable in summer, but scarcely suffi-
cient to keep out the sleet and snow of winter. Their bed-
stead was a home-made affair, one side of which was nailed
to and supported by the wall. A big trunk brought by Mrs.
Eichholt from across the water served as the dining table.
It having become necessary to have a wagon for his team
of oxen, Mr. Eichholt very ingeniously made one of hickory,
fashioning the great wheels of solid hickory logs. There
was an abundance of prairie chickens, wild turkeys, wild
hogs and deer, a supply to always reward the hunter's effort.
Life was peace, contentment and happiness for the youth-
ful couple; and they made good friends, who appreciated
them for their true Worth. Being deeply religious, Mr. and
Mrs. Eichholt helped Rev. Kraft, in 1860, to establish the
third Lutheran church in Washington County, at William
Penn, on the same lot where the present church now stands.
They were charter members. About this time he purchased
a farm near Cedar Hill, and operated a grist mill for the
soldiers and the public during the war between the States,
and was thus excused from army service. The death of
Henry Eichholt occurred September 13, 1900; his wife died
July 2, 1899. In modern poetry there is no avocation that
has been graced and dignified more than that which in real
life is most prosaic. Lowell, Whittier, Burns and others
have cast the veil of romance around the sturdy form of the
farmer, as well as the occupation which he follows, and
have made him honored of men. The example set by this
first German farmer was one of economy, energ>' and hon-
esty, added to which was a deep and abiding faith in the
Christian religion, and this example is today being followed
by the German citizens of Washington County.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Eichholt
THE FIRST GERMAN SETTLERS IN
The love of adventure that is inherent in every strong and
happy young man caused three boys, with ages ranging from
17 to 19, to seek dwelling places and search for fortunes in
the new world. William Bohne, William Schlottmann and
Frederick Eichholt arrived at Old Washington on the Brazos
in the spring of 1847. The fires of hope and love burned
brightly in their souls and hearts, for they came to prepare
homes for three beautiful, blue-eyed, golden-haired girls to
whom they had plighted their troths in far away Westpha-
lia. Being superior farmers they soon found employment
on the farm of John H. Seward at Independence, and for
two long, weaiy years they toiled and saved, until sufficient
funds were accumulated to pay the passages of their loved
ones across the ocean. No greater example of trust and
devotion may be found than that displayed by these pure
and innocent German girls, Elizabeth Pieper, Elizabeth
Richter and Louise Mernitz, the eldest being scarcely nine-
teen, who forsook home, parents and friends, and made the
long voyage to join those whom they had chosen as life com-
panions. The vessel in which they sailed having anchored
at the mouth of the Brazos, they came up the river to Colum-
bia in a steamboat, and thence by wagon to Indusry. As
the girls could not speak English they had difficulty in mak-
ing themselves understood, until they found Charles Ford-
tran, the first German settler. He came gallantly to the
rescue, sent for the young men, secured the licenses, and
joyously attended the weddings of Elizabeth Pieper to Will-
iam Bohne; of Elizabeth Richter to William Schlottmann,
and of Louise Mernitz to Frederick Eichholt. These happy
marriages were solemnized in Brenham. Some of the most
prominent citizens in Washington County are direct de-
scendants of these worthy people.
H. Roehling and family came to this county in the fall
of 1847 ; first stopping near the trading point which is now
Chappell Hill, later going to work on the John H. Seward
farm near Independence.
F. F. Sprain and wife, Henrietta Pieper Sprain, and four
children, Minna, Henrietta, Henry and William, left the
province of Westphalia, Germany, October 4, 1850, and
landed in Galveston November 22nd. On the way the boy
Henry died and was buried in the ocean. Among the cher-
ished possessions of this family were four wagon wheels,
which they brought with them from the Fatherland. At
Houston Mr. Sprain made the rest of the wagon, mounted
it on the wheels, purchased a yoke of oxen, and made the
long journey to Independence, which consumed two weeks.
Their first crop was made on land rented from John H.
Seward. As Mr. Sprain had some money he fared better
than the majority of the emigrants, and was able the next
year to buy a farm of 150 acres near Brenham. Six years
"later he bought a big farm four miles south of Brenham at
$5.00 per acre, and the inconveniences of the old log house,
with dirt floor and stick and mud chimneyin which he first
lived in Texas, were forgotten in the more comfortable and
pretentious ' dwelling built entirely of cedar. Henrietta
Sprain died in 1891, and F. F. Sprain died in 1903. Their
direct descendants are Henrietta, widow of J. F. Winkel-
mann ; Bertha Sprain, the wife of Louis Tesch of Brenham ;
Adolph Sprain, J. F. Sprain of New York and William
Sprain, of Salem. William Sprain, who lives at the
old family home with his wife, Dora Tesch, the daugh-
ter of Louis J. Tesch, is a worthy successor of his
pious father. He was educated in the country schools
in Washington County, and at the age of 20 years began
life on his own account. During the war between the States
he assisted his father in the operation of a grist mill, where
products were ground for the benefit of the public and the
soldiers, and was thus exempted from the duties of a sol-
dier. This mill was the first steam mill to be built in this
From 1846 to about 1854 the list of German settlers, as
near as can be ascertained, includes Henry Eichholt, Wil-
liam Bohne, William Schlottmann, Frederick Eichholt, H.
Roehling, Valentine Hoffmann, F. W. Schuerenberg, F. F.
Sprain, C. Emshoff, William Roehling, Henry Loesch, H.
Schmidt, William Meyer, H. Bockelmann, William Hoege-
meyer, 'C. Schulte, H. Wehmeyer, William Zeiss, George
Khrone, C. Dannhaus, F. and John Plueckhorn, Henry and
F. Schawe, William Wedemeyer, Christian Wiede, John
Rahm, F. Wehmeyer, Frederick Ehlert, Louis Lehmann,
Frederick Kramer, H. Klanke, F. Wiese, H. Ceckler, F.
Fahrenfort, F. Riebe, C. Grabe, Mernitz, F. Harms, Giesen-
schlag, Dierke, Herman Knittel, Louis Tesch, Fred Frank,
William Schemlthoppf, William Seidel, Henry Hering, L. F.
Hohlt, Homeyer, Henry, Fritz and William Broesche. In
nearly every instance these pioneers were accompanied by
their wives and children.
On October 6, 1846, there landed at Galveston, Valentine
Hofi'mann and his good wife, Maria Katherina, who, with
their descendants, were destined to wield a wonderful in-
fluence over the agricultural, religious and commercial life
of Washington County. They were born in the village of
Ankerot, Province of Hessen, Germany. Their first place
of residence was Galveston ; however, after six, months they
removed to Austin County. In 1848 they located perma-
nently at Berlin, in Washington County, and in 1852 bought
their first farm of 156 acres, for which they paid $525.00.
For 19 years they toiled together, and reared and educated
their six children, until death ended the life of the good hus-
band and industrious father September 1, 1871, at the age
of 71 years. In 1854, Mr. and Mrs. Hoffmann assisted Rev.
Ebinger in the organization of the Eben-Ezer Church — the
first Lutheran church to be esUiblished in Washington
Few people live to reach the allotted three score and ten,
and for the century to be rounded out is truly remarkable.
Maria Katherina Hoffmann lived to be 102 years of age,
having retained her health and faculties until within a few
months of her demise, which occurred October 8, 1907. At
70 her eyesight failed and she had to use glasses; at 80 it
was restored, and she was able to read the little old German
Bible, which she had brought with her from Germany, with
her natural eyes. Beginning with childhood her chief con-
solation was in this divine book, and it sustained and com-
forted her all through her long, useful and beautiful life,
and was her rod and staff when the sad end came.
These pioneers taught their children, J. J. Hoffmann, John
Hoffmann, R. Hoffmann, Mrs. Mary Catherine Struwe, Mrs.
Mary Margaret Harriss and Mrs. W. C. Broesche, the prin-
ciples of right living, thus exemplifying the foundation oi
much of the frugality and honesty that characterizes so
markedly the Germans of today in Washington County.
When the 100th birthday anniversary of Mrs. Hoffmann
was celebrated, March 31, 1905, at St. Paul's Evangelical
Lutheran Church, she had the extreme satisfaction of know-
ing that her descendants had profited by her wise counsel,
and that among the 146 children, grandchildren and great
grandchildren and great, great grandchildren, there was not
one who was unworthy of their ancestry.
Of the sons, two answered the call to arms at the begin-
ning of the four years' strife between the North and South,
and served as members of Company E, Tom Green's Brig-
ade, until the close of the war. They are J. J. and John
1 loffmann. John died soon after the war and J. J. returned
to his farm near Berlin, w^here he operated a gin, and steam
and corn grist mill.
R. Hoffmann, the third son, established a mercantile busi-
ness in Brenham in 1867, and for over forty years was one
of the most successful merchants and most prominent men
of the town. He married Dorothy Anna Hitscher, and ot
this union there were born three daughters, Louise, the wife
of R. A. Schuerenberg; Emma, who married Hampus Roos,
and Lillian, and three sons, Reinhardt, Edward F. and John,
all of whom are now dead. R. Hoffmann died February
This pioneer family of Hoffmanns became allied in 1886
with the Schuerenbergs, another family of early settlers,
by the marriage of Louise Hoffmann and R. A. Schueren-
berg. This last named family, which added so much to the
good qualities of the German element in Washington County,
had its origin with the coming, in 1848, of Captain Freder-
ick William Schuerenberg. He was born at Kettwig on the
Ruhr, Province of the Rhine, and was graduated from Dues-
seldorf University. His first location was at Chappell Hill,
and he engaged in blacksmithing until the beginning of the
war between the North and South. In 1861 he entered the
army as a captain under John Sayles, and was assigned to
duty as a drillmaster. At the close of the war he went to
Independence, and later to Berlin, where he farmed, raised
stock and operated a blacksmith shop. In 1855 he married
Louise Mueller, a native of Perleberg, Province of Bran-
denburg. In company with relatives, she came to Texas in
1849, and with them settled in Brenham, where the wedding
took place. They were blessed with five children, only two
of whom, R. A. and F. W. Schuerenberg, are living. In 1875
Captain Schuerenberg moved to Brenham and opened a
blacksmith shop, in connection with which he subsequently
began the manufacture of plows and farming implements.
This business he conducted successfully up to the time of his
death, laying solidly and well the foundation for the vast
business which his energetic and enterprising sons have
At the death of Captain Schuerenberg, March 17, 1882,
the management of the estate devolved upon R. A. and F. W.
Schuerenberg. The younger son had learned the blacksmith
trade in his father's shop, so he took charge of that depart-
ment ; the elder, being an expert accountant and good buyer,
assumed control of the office.
Robert Alexander Schuerenberg was born in Berlin, Tex-
as, August 21, 1859, and was educated in the public schools.
In 1886 he married Louise Hoffmann, daughter of R. Hoff-
mann, and they have one daughter, Lillian, who became the
wife of Tom A. Adams November 11, 1915.
Frederick William Schuerenberg was born in Berlin,
Texas, January 17, 1862; he also received his education in
the free schools. He was married in 1886 to Bertha, the
daughter of E. Reichardt, and they have two children, Ben-
ita, the wife of J. J. Marek, and Bertha, the wife of C. A.
When their mother died the Schuerenbergs became sole
heirs to the property. Trade increased, close application
caused nearly every venture to end well, and success came
quickly. They added a general stock of fine carriages,
wagons, harness, automobiles, etc., and in time erected bet-
ter and more modern buildings. Today their plant covers
two acres of ground, and their business is considered one of
the largest and most reliable industries in this part of Texas.
Most people get out of the world just what they put into
it. The Schuerenberg brothers invested industry and en-
ergy, and in return they have received the reward of plenty;
they donated honesty and integrity, and to them has come
peace and tranquillity, their greatest contribution was self-
sacrifice, helpfulness and kindness, and their return has
been a great fortune, contentment and happiness.
Another splendid type of the Teutonic race is found in
C. Klaerner, the man of scholarly attainments, who has done
so much for Washington County and Brenham in literary,
musical and educational circles.
He was born November 9, 1861, at St. Johannis, near
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany, his parents being cultivated
and intelligent people. For seven years he attended the
public schools, later taking private lessons to prepare for
entrance into a normal. After three years he was gradu-
ated, and then took a course in a seminary. Inspired by
the stories of the glories of Texas, he left his native land
at the early age of nineteen j^ears, and came to Austin
County, where he worked on a farm and taught the farmer's
children. In 1881 he passed a teachers' examination at
Columbus, and he was granted a certificate. For six years,
then, he conducted a school at Frelsburg, Colorado County.
In 1887 he accepted a position in a school in Austin
County, where he remained four years. He came to Bren-
ham in 1891, and for six years gave instructions in mathe-
matics, methods and German at the Lutheran College, finally
establishing the fine school of learning known in South
Texas as the German-American Institute, where for ten
years children were given superior advantages in securing
educations, and in the study of the German language.
When the law creating the office of county superintend-
ent of education went into effect, C. Klaerner was chosen
by the commissioners court of Washington County to fill
the responsible position. Being thoroughly accomplished
in the government of school affairs, he had wisdom that gave
keen insight into conditions, and knew instinctively all im-
provements that were so urgently needed. His first aim
was the improvement of the school property and the em-
ployment of good teachers. The district system was intro-
duced, local Teachers' Institutes were conducted at stated
intervals, pupils' examinations were held, and a school an-
nual was published. Old school houses were repaired, new
ones built, the playgrounds were made more attractive,* and
in many communities the school became the social center.
The study of music was encouraged, the children were taught
to sing, and in some instances pianos or organs were pur-
chased. After seven years of arduous toil, he voluntarily
retired to resume teaching, the avocation which he preferred
to all others.
A valuable treatise on "Proportion and Percentage" was
published in 1904 by Prof. Kb.erner. For a number of
years he was on the staff of the "Texas Volksbote," and his
editorials, written with profundity of thought and brilliancy
of metaphor, carried messages which, rightly interpreted,
brightened the lives of those to whom they were delivered.
Prof. Klaerner is a member for life of the Germania
Verein, which organization he served for several terms as
president. He w^as musical director of the Vorwaerts Sing-
ing Society, and master of the choir at the St. Paul's Evan-
gelical Lutheran Church. As an eloquent orator, a talented
musician, and one who is passionately fond of poetry and
song, he has ever done a wonderful work in encouraging the
study of the most beautiful things in life. His ability, mu-
sically, is known alj over Texas, and at the State Saenger-
fests his knowledge of music is valued and his \fine voice
is appreciated. When Dr. Johannes Hagen resided in Wash-
ington County he paid a high tribute to this gifted man by
dedicating a series of poems to him.
In recognition of true worth the State Historical and
Library Commission, unsolicited by him, appointed Prof.
Klaerner State Librarian in the spring of 1915, and the
duties of this high office are being faithfully and conscien-
tiously discharged to the eminent satisfaction of the people
Upon his removal to Austin friends arranged a reception
that was ample evidence of his popularity and prominence
H. F. HOHLT.
H. F. Hohlt, president of the First National Bank, and
one of the most prominent merchants in Brenham, was born
in Washington County, December 16, 1859. His parents
were L. F. Hohlt and Dorothea Hohlt, and they came from
Hanover, Germany, in 1851 to this county.
H. F. Hohlt was reared on his father's farm, and that
was where he developed the strong body, and acquired the
H. F. HOHLT
habits of frugality and thrift that have been such great fac-
tors in his success in life. His first schooling was obtained
in the rural schools, and later he went to Baylor University,
Independence. His business career began July 31, 1883,
when he, associated with C. Brockschmidt, opened a very
small store in Brenham. This co-partnership continued un-
til January 1, 1902, at which time he purchased the inter-
est of the Brockschmidt heirs.
The ever-increasing volume of trade necessitated help,
and in January, 1909, his mercantile holdings were duly in-
corporated under the firm name of H. F. Hohlt Company.
In 1914 the massive, and conveniently arranged, brick store
house was built as a permanent home for the mammoth
business. The clerks in this establishment are taught mod-
ern methods in their work. They are treated with the ut-
most kindness, and there is a mutual aid association among
them which was inaugurated by Mr. Hohlt.
This influential citizen is identified with a number of bus-
iness enterprises in a managerial, or advisory capacity. He
is president of the Brenham Banner-Press Publishing Com-
pany; president of the Texas Volksbot,3 Publishing Com-
pany; president of the H. F. Hohlt Company, and was
elected president of the First National Bank in 1910. Re-
ligiously he is affiliated with St. Paul's Evangelical Luth-
eran Church. Being deeply interested in educational work,
his services as trustee of the Lutheran College at Seguin
are deemed invaluable in the upbuilding of that school of
On January 5, 1882, H. F. Hohlt and Miss Caroline Grebe
were united in marriage, and they have four sons, Edwin,
Arthur, Herbert and Ernest. Mrs. Hohlt is quiet and re-
tiring in disposition, and her time is largely devoted to her
household and her children. Withal she is a gracious gen-
tlewoman who exemplifies the charm of true womanhood,
and she is held in affectionate regard by all who have come
within the sphere of her influence.
By his own efforts H. F. Hohlt has made his way in the
world, and few self-made men have ever been more suc-
cessful. He has the esteem and confidence of the masses.
All people are his friends, and none are too poor or too low^-
ly to get words of encouragement and helpfulness from
him. Although at all times a very busy man, he is never
too preoccupied to stop his work, and give time and thought
for the general good of Brenham and Washington County.
This estimable man possesses the vital force that is the
basis of all enduring greatness that lives when this earthly
tabernacle is dissolved. He possesses character, and men
trust, believe in, and honor him.
One of the most conspicuous literary men in the early
history of Washington County was Hugh Kerr, who wrote
"A Poetical Description of Texas." This poem is a narra-
tive of many interesting events in Texas, embracing a
period of several years, interspersed with moral and polit-
ical impressions ; and also an appeal to those who opposed
the union of the Republic of Texas with the United States,
and the anticipation of that event. These verses were pub-
lished in New York by the author in 1838.
Hugh Kerr was a native of Ireland, and he and his family
resided some miles from Independence, near Captain Cris-
man's. He was affiliated with Prospect Presbyterian
church, being a charter member. His death occurred in
this county in 1843. Copies of Kerr's poem are very rare;
the history of Texas, which is embodied, is skillfully and
interestingly handled — the fall of the Alamo and the battle
of San Jacinto being very graphic. The story of the lattei
reads as follows :
Eighteen hundred and thirty-six,
The month of April twenty-first,
The date in full we here afiix.
A record of that storm which burst
Upon a guilty murd'rous crew,
By instruments of providence;
Some gallant freemen conscious, too,
That they then act in self-defense.
At half past three, the afternoon,
The Texans move in firm array,
The Mexicans espy them soon,
Behind their breastworks for them stay.
The Texas line when formed advance
In double quick time to the foe.
Reserve their fire but sternly glance.
The word Fire rings, and dash they go.
Th^n sounds of terror and dismay
Affright the Mexicans, and lo.
In loud cry. the Texans say.
Remember now the Alamo.
Remember Travis, — Crockett, too;
Remember F'annin, still they cry;
No breastwork stoi)s, and they i)ursue —
The slain around in hundreds lie.
Now like a raging torrent force,
The Texas rifles slash and slay,
And like the trees in tempest course,
So fell the Mexicans that day.
A very short time did transpire,
From the commencement of the fight.
The routed Mexicans entire
Were killed, wounded or put to flight.
Six hundred thirty killed that day,
Two hundred eight of wounded men,
Seven hundred thirty captured, say,
A few escaped pursuers then;
Among the captured is their chief.
The noted Coss, Almonte, too.
And many others — to be brief.
Their treasure, trappings, old and new.
Next day Santa Anna in disguise,
A wandering fugitive, was found;
He tried to shun his captor's eyes
By crouching prostrate on the ground.
When forced from there in mean attire.
He would not yet his name disclose;
For Houston, then, he does inquire.
And thence to him the party goes.
He had attempted to evade.
By crossing where the bridge had been;
On foot he had to retrograde.
And sunk in mud his horse was seen.
As they pass on to Houston's tent.
The Mexicans around exclaim.
Behold, Santa Anna! In he went.
And there to Houston told his name.
He added in faltering tone,
"The brave are always found humane,"
And craved his life from him alone,
Who soothes him in a gentle strain.
And now humanity attends.
For though they might retaliate —
The murder of their faithful friends
Such guilt they will not imitate.
Little clouds at daylight,
Blown about the sky,
Like butterflies so gay and white.
Are flying heaven-high.
Little fragrant flowers.
With May come into bloom,
And all the woodland bowers
Are reeking with perfume.
Little birds are singing
Of happy springtime days,
And the ambient air is ringing
With their songs of praise.
PEACE AND GOOD WILL.
straight from bright Bethlehem's shining star,
Where all the Herald angels are,
Down the wintry skies some angels come,
With soft and snowy wings unfurled,
And the music from their heavenly home,
Sweetly floats out o'er the weary world.
They're bringing for you and me good cheer
Enough to last for another year,
W^hen they'll be coming back again.
Singing the same sweet old refrain,
That's ringing down the ages still,
Of peace on earth, to men good will.
THE ANGEL OF DEATH.
With a radiant face, like a shining star,
And sandal-feet in swiftness shod,
Out of the valley of rest that lies afar.
Comes the angel of death — belov'd of God;
Where the watchers sad their vigils keep,
He bends and touches the eyelids down.
And places the flowers of endless sleep.
Where shines the well earned halo-crown.
He gathers the story of a life complete.
Led by a good and honest man,
Whose faith, and hope, and charity sweet.
Were ever after the beautiful plan;
As he stoops to bear the soul away.
Just at the set of the life's last sun.
You can hear the Master softly say,
"Come, good and faithful servant, well done."
— R. E. Pennington.
COME SIT WITH YOURSELF TONIGHT.
Come sit with yourself tonight,
And count the beautiful things you've done this year
Have you made anybody's days more bright,
And did you wipe away a single tear?
When you found roses by the way.
Did you treasure them for their fragrance rare,
And sing a song of praise for the joyous day.
And a happy heart so free from care?
Come, see if you've been forgiving,
And find out what kind of a life you've led;
Have you sent sweet flowers to the living.
Or did you put them on the graves of the dead?
Come and talk with yourself tonight.
And tell how many beautiful' prayers you've said;
Have you offered thanks for His love and light.
And are you grateful for your daily bread?
/Come meet your past with uplifted face.
And as the old year dies can not you see
Your new life' must be like the Beautiful Place,
God meant that this wonderful world should be.